Lemon Spaghetti

  Little Chef A loves pasta! Lemon Spaghetti by Giada de Laurentiis seemed like a quick meal with not many ingredients.  The pasta cooked by itself, the lemon sauce only needed to be whisked with fresh lemon juice, lemon zest and shredded parmesan cheese. The only thing needed to be cut was the basil. Seems pretty simple, right? That is what I usually think at the beginning as well.  This time it really was the case! The ingredients were gathered. A saucepan with water was put on the stove to heat to boiling.

  First Little Chef A seasoned the water with salt, which would in turn season the pasta. Since we have little mouths to feed and the long spaghetti causes problems I usually break the pasta in half before putting it in the pan. I explained to Little Chef A how to break the pasta, then demonstrated. The first handful Little Chef A broke by bending upward, not downward as I showed. Little pasta pieces went all over the stove, counter and floor! She first looked at me to see what expression I was giving, what could I do but smile and laugh! She followed with the same delayed response. The next time I had her try breaking it downward. Less pieces went all over the kitchen and more tiny pieces went into the pan. Success!

  The next thing to do was stir the pasta. A simple task, or so I thought. I think she was scared to break the pasta, but being too gentle didn’t help the pasta go into the pan.

  While the pasta was cooking for the time on the package, Little Chef A made the lemon sauce. Good thing we had this lemon juicer. The lemons were easily cut in half on a cutting board, then one of the halves inserted between the leavers and squeeze, out comes the juice. She had a hard time squeezing. I thought it wouldn’t be tough, but even with two hands I still had to squeeze the last of the juice out. If you notice in the picture the lemon is facing the wrong direction. That was the first time she put it in, before I corrected her and flipped it over!

  Little Chef A had a hard time zesting the lemon. She used a regular cheese grater. I think we need to seriously think about getting a microplane, that always seems to work easily on the cooking shows! Next she whisked the lemon juice, oil and parmesan cheese together.

  The basil was then cut with scissors, still our best method, still works!

  The pasta was done, strained and put in a bowl.  The steam that blows in her face when she dumps the hot pan into the strainer set in the sink always scares her. The pasta was then mixed with tongs. I  suggested she take bigger chunks of pasta from the side and move it to the middle, then the next and the next to actually mix everything with the sauce in the bottom.

  The pasta was garnished with freshly chopped basil and brought to the table.

  Little Chef A loved it! All the Little Chefs LOVED it! I think they w
ere a little confused why there wasn’t a sauce they could put on top. We had some left over we put in the refrigerator. The next day Little Chef A was dying to eat it. She didn’t like it as much as the first day. The lemon flavor was very concentrated and it was too sour for her to eat!

  For my review, the lemon was very strong and overpowering. If you love lemons this is the dish for you. It would be wonderful as a quick side dish. Not a lot of work, easy to prepare.  This is a perfect recipe for kids to be successful without much technical effort.

Lemon Spaghetti

By Giada De Laurentiis


  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (about 3 lemons)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the oil, Parmesan, and lemon juice in a large bowl to blend.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss the pasta with the lemon sauce, and the reserved cooking liquid, adding 1/4 cup at a time as needed to moisten. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with lemon zest and chopped basil.

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