Easy lemon butter sauce is perfect for tossing any pasta shape your family loves. Serve it as a vegetarian dinner idea or a simple side dish this spring.
As soon as the bright green chives are growing in my patio herb garden, I start drooling over the thought of making my very favorite lemon butter pasta with fresh chives.
This simple pasta sauce has just 4 ingredients and can be paired with just about any pasta shape your family loves.
We've enjoyed it over several different flavors of ravioli or tortellini from Costco over the years but my favorite way to use it is over a thin spaghetti noodle.
It only takes a minute to melt the butter and finish the entire dish which makes this perfect served as a side dish or main entree on a busy night.
This crazy easy recipe only needs these four things:
- Pasta: Just about any pasta shape you love. Thin spaghetti is my favorite but cheese tortellini would be amazing, too.
- Fresh Lemon
- Fresh Chives: I love dried herbs for ease of use, but for this recipe the fresh chives are essential.
- Grated Parmesan: You could also use grated Romano cheese if you prefer.
Prep the Sauce
Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling water as directed on the packaging. The time will change depending on the shape and brand you use.
Meanwhile, slice the lemon in half and mince the fresh chives.
If you really love lemon, you could also zest the lemon before slicing it in half.
Toss the Pasta
Once the pasta has been drained, melt the butter in the pasta pot.
Remove the pot from the heat, squeeze the lemon juice into the butter and swirl it around.
Add the drained pasta back to the pot and toss the noodles in the melted butter and lemon juice.
Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and quickly toss to combine. Serve with the fresh chives sprinkled over the top.
- Remove the Pot from the Heat Before Adding Lemon Juice:
Lemon juice is very delicate, to retain the strong flavor, you don't want to cook it in the butter.
- Quickly Toss the Grated Cheese with the Pasta:
If you add the cheese and then let it sit, the cheese will melt and clump and be nearly impossible to evenly coat among the noodles. Be prepared to toss it among the pasta and stir it until coated.
- Don't Cook the Fresh Chives:
Sprinkle the fresh chives at the table so they retain their bright oniony flavor. Once cooked, the delicate herb will begin to lose some of it's flavor.
This simple recipe is one of my all-time favorites. I love it just as is, but you can also try these fun variations:
Spicy Lemon Butter: Add a few shakes of crushed red pepper flakes to the melting butter.
Garlic Lemon Butter: Add 1 - 2 teaspoons of minced garlic to the melted butter, cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute or until fragrant before adding the lemon juice and pasta.
Herb Butter Sauce: The chives are amazing but this dish would also taste wonderful with chopped fresh basil, fresh thyme, fresh sage, or even fresh dill.
Veggie Noodles with Lemon Butter: Make a gluten-free veggie noodles dish by using zucchini noodles, squash noodles, asparagus noodles and more!
Pair this lemon butter pasta with roasted asparagus, roasted broccoli, steamed pea pods, or any green vegetable you love for a simple vegetarian dinner.
Lemon Butter Pasta with Chives
- 6 tablespoon butter
- 1 lemon
- 4 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoon chives minced
- 2 (8 oz) packages of refrigerated ravioli OR 1 (1lb) box of thin spaghetti
- Boil your pasta as directed on the package. Drain and set aside. Melt the 6 tablespoon of butter in the pasta pot. Turn off the heat/remove the pot from the burner. This is super important, you don't want to evaporate the lemon juice or overly melt the cheese.
- Squeeze the lemon juice into the butter, watch out for the seeds and remove them as needed. Swirl the pot to combine. Add the cooked pasta and gently toss to combine. It works best if you do this step in the hot pot you boiled the pasta in because the retained heat of the pot will help things along.
- Add the parmesan cheese and gently toss to coat. Move quickly on this step or the cheese will melt and clump up and the pasta will become too thick to toss. Sprinkle heavily with fresh chives, salt and pepper to taste.
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