Close up of bowl of Pasta al Limone with arugula.

Inspired by pasta al limone, this lemon pasta brings arugula to the mix for an easy and brightly flavored 30-minute dinner.

What do you do to shake the winter blues? Despite feeling inspired and staying productive, deep within my core I’m in some sort of funk. I just want Spring, but apparently it’s January 45th and winter isn’t going anywhere soon. 

As I type this, I realize that my friends and family back up in Canada are scoffing and shaking a fist at me as they deal with their annual “polar vortex”. (Or, have they come up with a new bogus name for winter storm systems since I’ve moved?) But no matter where you are, winter is winter. Winter is dark, winter is cold, and winter is miserable.

Luckily, citrus is in season! Which seems like the perfect way to brighten up our spirits and our tastebuds.

So. Let’s focus on that :)

Pasta al Limone piled in a bowl with arugula, whirled around a fork.

Lemon Pasta With Arugula—or Pasta al Limone.

Have you ever had a classic pasta al limone? It’s as lemony and luscious as it sounds. Originally I’d planned on creating a recipe for Cacio e Pepe, but my mouth needed a pop of bright flavors.

This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite Canadian chefs, David Rocco. He inspired this recipe for Pasta Aglio E Olio With Toasty Breadcrumbs and he’s become my go-to for simple, quick, yet elegant pastas. This recipe takes less than 30 minutes to bring together, making it ideal for weeknights or for a simple yet elegant date night in.

A classic Pasta al Limone doesn’t incorporate arugula, but since arugula and lemon are best friends in my world, I thought it would make a nice addition. And it did! Plus, it’s always nice to throw in a healthy dose of greens. When it comes to choosing a pasta type, I recommend sticking with long pastas like spaghetti, linguini, or bucatini—which is what I used here.

Bowl of bucatini pasta.

Bucatini pasta being tossed in lemon oil and cheese.

Pasta al Limone piled in a bowl with arugula, whirled around a fork.

If you love the idea of easy weeknight pastas, head on over to my One-Pot Mediterranean Pasta With Mackerel! And for something *super* simple, this 15-Minute Pasta Aglio e Olio With Toasty Breadcrumbs.  

Some other awesome options…

If you try this recipe or create your own variation, let me know in the comments! I love connecting with you.

Also, snap a photo and tag me on the Insta @killing__thyme and be featured in our newsletter.

Get the Recipe:

Lemon Pasta With Arugula {Pasta al Limone}

Inspired by pasta al limone, this lemon pasta brings arugula to the mix for an easy and brightly flavored 30-minute dinner.
5 from 19 votes


  • 1 lb spaghetti or long noodles (if using bucatini, go for a 12 oz package)
  • 1 garlic clove, lightly smashed and halved (don't chop it!)
  • Zest of two large lemons
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice from two large lemons
  • 5 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • A generous amount of cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup finely grated parmagiano or pecorino romano, plus more for garnish
  • 1 handful arugula


  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package's instructions.
  • While the pasta boils, choose a large bowl for serving. You'll be using this bowl to toss the pasta as well. Take the halves of your lightly smashed garlic and rub the garlic over the bottom and sides of the plate to coat it with flavor. Once the bowl is nicely coated with garlicky goodness, discard the garlic.
  • Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice; gradually drizzle the extra virgin olive oil into the lemon juice with a slow and steady stream while whisking. Continue to whisk until the the oil and juice have emulsified. Whisk in a pinch of salt and half of the lemon zest.
  • Drain the pasta when it's done and set aside. Add the cheese to the serving bowl with the oil and lemon, crack a generous amount of black pepper over the cheese, and place the hot noodles over the cheese. Carefully but thoroughly toss the pasta around the cheese and sauce with tongs until evenly coated. Add the arugula, and give the pasta one more toss.
  • Grate some extra cheese over the pasta before serving, as well as the remainder of the lemon zest, and some more cracked black pepper. Serve immediately.
Lemon Pasta With Arugula {Pasta al Limone}