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.
Pair this lemon butter pasta with roasted asparagus, roasted broccoli, steamed pea pods, or any green vegetable you love for a simple vegetarian dinner.