A garlicky, lemon caper pasta topped with toasted almonds and parmesan cheese. This lighter pasta feels fancy, but is an easy throw-together dinner!
This lemon caper pasta is your new best summer friend.
It’s light. It’s lemony. It’s got all the best-of-the-best ingredients, including browned garlic, bright lemon zest, zingy capers, parmesan cheese, and let’s not forget the toasted almonds for that little bit of crunch.
It’s basically all the summer things you can think of – light, bright, fresh, filled with sunshine… Okay, I can’t promise actual sunshine on the ingredient list, but I’m pretty sure lemon zest and juice are just as good as edible sunshine. 😉
I typically allocate pasta to the fall/winter-comfort food category. (Prime example? Garlic shrimp fettuccine alfredo with ALL the cream.) But this pasta is not your average pasta dish. The olive oil, lemon juice, and parmesan cheese create a super flavorful sauce that just coats the noodles but does NOT weigh it down like a traditional marinara. It’s like a creamy lemon garlic sauce without the cream.
Another bonus is that this dish is filling, feels fancy without requiring the work of fancy, AND is vegetarian and easily adaptable for vegans. (Serve cheese on the side for those that want it and leave it out for those that don’t!)
If you’re looking to round out the meal, here are some side ideas:
- A caesar salad to keep things light! (Buy a bag if you want extra easy.)
- Some easy, no knead bread if you don’t care about keeping things light and want allllll the carbs.
- Roasted green beans. (Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in a 425 degree oven for 20-25 minutes).
Also. Don’t forget dessert. 😉
mikaela | wyldflour
Garlicky, lemon caper pasta that feels fancy but is easily thrown together!
25 minPrep Time
25 minTotal Time
5 based on 2 review(s)
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 lb thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon minced garlic, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 Tablespoon lemon zest (~1-2 lemons)
- 1/4 cup lemon juice (~2-3 lemons)
- 1/3 cup non-pareil capers (or chopped regular capers)
- 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- freshly cracked black pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spread almonds on a baking sheet and toast for 4-6 minutes in the preheated oven. Watch the almonds carefully and remove when they start to turn brown. Set aside.
- In a small pan, heat olive oil and 2 tablespoons minced garlic over low heat until simmering. Simmer about 5 minutes or until garlic is well-browned but not burnt. Remove from heat, add crushed red pepper, and set aside.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. (While waiting, get a start on prepping the other ingredients in the next step.) Cook the pasta just to al dente (it will continue cooking a little bit more when mixed with the other ingredients). BEFORE draining the pasta, use a glass measuring cup to reserve 1/2 cup of the starchy boiling water and set it aside. Drain the pasta. If you're still preparing the other ingredients, then drizzle a little olive oil over the pasta to keep it from sticking together.
- As soon as you set the water on to boil, prepare the remaining ingredients--that is, zest the lemons, squeeze for juice, and grate the parmesan cheese. Set everything to the side.
- After draining the pasta, return it to the hot large pan and heat over the lowest heat. Add the 1/2 cup reserved pasta water, oil + garlic, 1 teaspoon raw garlic, lemon zest and juice, capers, salt, and pepper. Use tongs to swirl, spin, and stir the pasta over low heat. The pasta will absorb much of the oil and water. Continue doing so until there is no longer any water sitting in the bottom of the pot. Then stir in parmesan cheese and 1/4 cup of the toasted almonds.
- Serve pasta and sprinkle each serving with remaining almonds and parsley for garnish.
Serving Size: Without side dishes, this pasta usually feeds two people plus some leftovers. With side dishes, this pasta feeds four people.
Timing: This pasta is best served right away. But if you have guests and need to keep the pasta "warm" while waiting to serve it, reserve extra boiling water (more than the 1/2 cup called for). That way, you can keep the pasta over low heat and keep adding water whenever the bottom of the pot gets dry to keep it from sticking/burning.