Creamy Linguine Pasta al Limone from Campania

Creamy Linguine Pasta al Limone from Campania.

creamy linguine pasta al limone

Linguine al limone con panna.

I had never tried pasta with lemon until coming to live in Italy. In fact, although I’d heard of it, I couldn’t imagine that it would taste good! How wrong I was! Pasta, particularly long pasta like spaghetti, tagliolini or linguine, is absolutely divine with a fresh lemon sauce! If you have never eaten pasta al limone then this creamy linguine pasta al limone recipe is a good place to start! I promise you, it’s a match made in foodie heaven! 

(Click to go straight to recipe)

creamy linguine pasta al limone

Lemons from Amalfi and Sorrento.

This dish is very much a Southern Italian recipe. It originated in Campania, specifically the Sorrento peninsula and the Amalfi coast. Both Amalfi and Sorrento are famous for their lemons. Although lemons are grown in all the south Italian regions, the lemons from here are considered by many to be the best!

ingredients on white plate for creamy linguine pasta al limone

A little lemon history!

Lemons have been grown on the Sorrento peninsula since Roman times. In fact, the Romans used to believe that lemons were an antidote to all poisons!  However, lemon growing only started to become an important local industry in Campania from the 10th to 12th century. At that time, Amalfi was actually an important independent maritime republic and trading centre. Lemons were grown mostly as a provision on long sea journeys to combat scurvy! It’s interesting that people then didn’t know about Vitamin C but they knew lemons helped in preventing scurvy.

grated lemon zest cooking in butter and olive oil in frying pan

Over time, the local farmers crossed different varieties of lemons until they succeeded in producing what are considered 2 of the best types of lemons. The Amalfi lemon, known locally as ‘Sfusato d’Amalfi , is 25% juice and has more vitamin C content than most other lemons. The Sorrento lemons or ‘Femminello Sorrentino’ is slightly more acidic than the Amalfi lemon but also high in vitamin C and delicious eaten raw. Sorrento lemons are usually the ones used to make limoncello, another wonderful Italian lemon based product!

heavy cream and grated lemon zest cooking in frying pan

Different versions of pasta al limone.

It is of no surprise that lemons are a traditional ingredient in the local cuisine in this part of Italy. They are used in both sweet and savoury dishes, the most famous of the latter is probably pasta al limone! In Amalfi, they even put lemon in their coffee!

There are different versions of this recipe; with cream and without cream or with goat cheese or ricotta instead. I have already posted a recipe for spaghetti al limone with ricotta, which is a wonderful no cook recipe (You only have to cook the pasta!). When it comes to herbs, some cooks add thyme to pasta al limone, others parsley and some people use basil. Also garlic is included in some recipes and not in others!

creamy lemon pasta sauce cooking in frying pan

This version of pasta al limone is with just heavy cream, Parmesan, parsley, lemons and butter. So, just a few ingredients and although the sauce does need to be cooked it takes only 5-10 minutes. Consequently, the whole dish can be ready in the time it takes to boil a pot of water and cook the pasta.

Other types of lemons.

If you can’t find Sorrento or Amalfi lemons, then try to use organic untreated or unwaxed lemons. The skin of other lemons isn’t really edible as they have been sprayed with pesticides or covered in a fungicide wax. I have read that you can just wash them with soap and water but I think if you’re using the zest, better not to buy non-organic fruit. Also, don’t forget not to remove any of the white pith when you grate or peel the lemons because this has a bitter taste and will spoil the flavour of the sauce!

cooked linguine pasta and creamy lemon sauce in frying pan

The pasta.

Traditionally this recipe is made with spaghetti or tagliolini, but many people use linguine too. I actually prefer linguine, especially with a creamy sauce. Linguine has more surface area for the sauce to cling to. In addition, if you use linguine that has been bronze drawn (meaning made using bronze dies) it’s more porous, so absorbs more sauce too.

A sunny dish for sunny weather!

This is a perfect summer weather dish. Firstly because even though it contains cream it’s not heavy and the lemon adds such a wonderful summery flavour. Secondly, it takes very little time to make, which is great on hot days when you don’t want to spend too long in the kitchen!

creamy linguine pasta al limone

If you make this recipe I’d love to hear how it turns out and if you liked it. Please leave a comment here on the blog or on The Pasta Project Facebook page. Looking forward to hearing from you!

Buon appetito!

(See the recipe on the next page. Just scroll down and click 2)

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You may like to take a look at these other pasta with lemon recipes. Each is made in a different way.

  1. Spaghetti al limone with ricotta 
  2. Lemon water spaghetti

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  • Avatar
    April 19, 2020 4:38 pm

    Thanks for sharing your recipe!
    Before the lockdowm period because of COVID, I went to Sorrento and tried the tagliolini al limone at the L’Antica Trattoria and fall in love with the dish. Couldn’t find the recipe until now.Thank you so much!

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  • Avatar
    April 13, 2019 11:40 pm

    Dear Jacqui, the recipe was wonderful and more enjoyable than most pasta lemone i’ve had. also, i don’t want to make trouble and i understand if you choose not to post my message, but: first, congratulations on being awarded 3rd place in the best italian recipes listing. but i checked out the recipes in the two sites picked 1 and 2, and their recipes seemed heavy-handed and lacked the great variety of pasta recipes you show us. yours feel and taste authentic. the others remind me of many home cooks in the usa. you deserve all the praise you receive.

    • Jacqui
      April 14, 2019 11:32 am

      Hi Henry, thanks so much for your comment! I’m so pleased you liked this pasta al limone recipe! I also think it’s one of the best! And thank you too for your comment about my site. My aim is to share authentic Italian pasta recipes, be they traditional or contemporary, and introduce my readers to the wonderful world of Italian pasta! It makes me happy to know there are those like yourself who really appreciate the recipes here and my work! All the best from Verona!

  • Avatar
    Chef Mireille
    July 1, 2018 5:33 pm

    interesting read on the history and different uses of the different lemons

    • admin
      July 4, 2018 7:17 pm

      Thanks Mireille, when I come across some interesting food history, I love to share it! I’m happy you like it! Hugs from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Linda | Brunch-n-Bites
    June 29, 2018 10:38 pm

    I’m a huge fan of pasta! And I’ve heard how flavorful pasta in Italy is, with just simple fresh ingredients. I just can’t wait to try your recipe. I bet it’s as fantastic as you had in Italy.

    • admin
      July 4, 2018 7:19 pm

      You will love this recipe Linda! It really is divine and you are right, here in Italy pasta is often served with simple fresh ingredients but it’s really tasty! Greetings from bella Italia! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    June 29, 2018 10:08 pm

    I wish the ingredients were in oz. and lbs. so I didn’t have to google to figure out the amount needed.

    • admin
      June 30, 2018 2:05 pm

      Dear Nancy, I can understand it’s a hassle to check google for conversions. I’m planning to upgrade my recipe plug-in very soon so that it’s done automatically! Just a question of budget. But it’s on the list! Hope you like this recipe. All the best from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Stephanie Simmons
    June 29, 2018 4:24 am

    This looks so delicious and simple to make! You certainly have the best pasta recipes 🙂

    • admin
      June 29, 2018 8:08 am

      Thank you so much Stephanie! Yes this is tops for deliciousness! Am happy you like the recipes here! Come back and visit again soon! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    Mayuri Patel
    June 28, 2018 11:53 pm

    A great summer pasta dish, so refreshing. I’ll not get Sorrento or Amalfi lemons of which I tasted both, but really didn’t find any difference as I was so overwhelmed by the fragrance. Hope will be able to make it soon.

    • admin
      June 29, 2018 8:09 am

      Thank you dear Mayuri! Yes, lemon is such a great summer flavour and this dish is also quite light. Perfect for hot days! All the best Jacqui

  • Avatar
    June 28, 2018 8:47 pm

    Yum! You have the best pasta dishes!!!!

    • admin
      June 29, 2018 8:11 am

      Aww, Lisa, grazie di cuore as the Italians say! Hugs from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    June 28, 2018 6:33 pm

    I’m not a big fan of pasta but this sauce sounds delicious, going to try this one over zucchini spirals. Love the choice of ingredients. Thanks for sharing!

    • admin
      June 29, 2018 8:12 am

      I’m sure this sauce would be great with zucchini noodles too Helen! Lat me know how it turns out! all the best Jacqui

  • Avatar
    June 28, 2018 1:00 pm

    That is making my mouth water!! I absolutely loved Sorrento and agree the lemons there are like nowhere else in the world. I’ll definitely give this recipe a go!

    • admin
      July 4, 2018 7:21 pm

      You are going to love this dish Bronnie, even if the lemons aren’t from Sorrento! I have found using organic lemons is really tasty too! Buon appetito! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    June 28, 2018 6:58 am

    Pasta limone is my ultimate favorite meal! Thanks for sharing this gorgeous recipe…

    • admin
      July 4, 2018 7:22 pm

      One of mine too Anna! Happy you like the recipe! Baci from Verona. Jacqui

  • Avatar
    June 27, 2018 8:10 pm

    You can never go wrong with a great pasta dish for dinner. Perfect for weeknight cooking, or to serve to guests. Loving the sauce in this recipe.

    • admin
      July 4, 2018 7:23 pm

      Thanks so much Gloria! Yes pasta is a great food that can be served in so many wonderful ways and everybody loves it! This sauce is special! Worth a try! Kisses from Italy! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    June 27, 2018 4:55 pm

    What a great idea to make pasta with lemons! I think it goes really well with parsley and cream. All these ingredients I have at home all the time. It’s on the list.

    • admin
      July 4, 2018 7:25 pm

      Happy you like the idea Vladka! Pasta with lemons is traditional in Amalfi and Sorrento where they grow fabulous lemons! But other lemons are good too so I hope you’ll enjoy it when you make it! All the best from Italy! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    June 22, 2018 4:45 pm

    I really like how creamy this pasta is! I definitely need to try it soon!

    • admin
      July 4, 2018 7:47 pm

      I’m really happy you like this pasta recipe dear Helena. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it when you try it! Kisses from Verona! Jacqui

  • Avatar
    June 22, 2018 1:31 pm

    Fantastic pasta with my favorite ingredients!

    • admin
      July 4, 2018 7:48 pm

      Thanks so much Vladi! I’m very happy that you like this recipe. It’s def one to try! All the best from Italy! Jacqui

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