Round white plate of Pasta with a Lemon Butter Sauce with a bamboo cutting board of sliced french bread behind all on a white and grey marble surface (with logo overlay)

Pasta with a Lemon Butter Sauce

Make a quick, creamy, light sauce with butter, lemon, garlic, cream, and white wine and serve it over pasta for an easy dinner.

About once per month, we try to do “pantry week”. This means we don’t buy any new groceries and use up things we find in the refrigerator or pantry. It helps save money because we aren’t buying more food. And it keeps us from wasting food that might otherwise go bad if not eaten. That’s how we first created Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce.

A lot of our meals during pantry week tend to be pasta of some type. We usually have pasta on hand, and it doesn’t require meat. Typically, we only buy enough meat for exactly the meals planned, so we don’t have extra in the freezer.

We’ve also been trying to use any of the foods we grow in the garden as we harvest. Since we had some fresh arugula, we added that to this meal. If you don’t have arugula or don’t like it, you could also sub in spinach leaves. We didn’t get many of our leafy greens to grow this season which has left us limited in our choices.

Justin cooked this meal one night while I was visiting my family in Florida and he always forgets to take the process photos. But he does do an excellent job of making sure to get those final photos for me, so I’ll give him a pass this time! We’ve since made Pasta with Lemon Butter Sauce a few times, so I’ve been able to get those missing photos.

Step by Step

Start by cooking your pasta according to the directions. Justin used ziti noodles since that’s what we had extra of in the pantry, but this sauce would work well with almost any type of noodle.

Medium saucepan of boiling noodles on a gas stovetop

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat one tablespoon of oil over medium-low heat, then add the minced garlic. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Medium saucepan with olive oil and minced garlic over a gas stovetop

Add the white wine and turn the heat up to medium. Let the wine cook for about 5 minutes, or until it is reduced by about one-third. The garlic should be soft, but you don’t want it to get brown.

Medium saucepan with oil, minced garlic, and white cooking wine over a gas stovetop

Remove the pan from the heat and add in the butter and cream.

Medium saucepan with oil, minced garlic, and white wine cooking with a large square of butter melting and heavy cream poured in over a gas stovetop

Return the pan to the heat and continuously stir until it starts to bubble.

White sauce mixture bubbling in a medium saucepan over a gas stovetop

Remove the pan from the heat again and add the lemon juice, dill, and arugula. Stir until the arugula is wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.

White sauce with spinach leaves and seasoning in a medium saucepan over a gas stovetop

Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta noodles. Garnish with dill and/or sliced green onions.

Round white plate of Pasta with a Lemon Butter Sauce with a bamboo cutting board of sliced french bread behind all on a white and grey marble surface (vertical)

Recipe

Originally Published On: August 9, 2018

Last Updated On: December 12, 2019

Round white plate of Pasta with a Lemon Butter Sauce with a bamboo cutting board of sliced french bread behind all on a white and grey marble surface

Pasta with a Lemon Butter Sauce

Make a quick, creamy, light sauce with butter, lemon, garlic, cream, and white wine and serve it over pasta for an easy dinner.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: fish, lemon, pasta, seafood
Servings: 2 servings
5 from 5 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pasta noodles
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white cooking wine
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp dill
  • 1 bunch arugula (or spinach)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Instructions

  • Cook the pasta noodles according to the package directions
  • In a small saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low and add the minced garlic
  • Stir frequently, cooking for about 5 minutes
  • Add the white wine
  • Increase the heat to medium and cook about 5 minutes, making sure the garlic does not get brown, until the wine is reduced by one-third
  • Remove the pan from the heat and add the butter and cream
  • Return the pan to the heat and stir constantly until it begins to bubble
  • Turn off the heat and add the lemon juice, dill, and arugula, stirring until the arugula has wilted
  • Add salt and pepper as needed, to taste
  • Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta noodles
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Nutrition Facts
Pasta with a Lemon Butter Sauce
Amount Per Serving (1 serving)
Calories 409 Calories from Fat 270
% Daily Value*
Fat 30g46%
Saturated Fat 15g75%
Cholesterol 71mg24%
Sodium 135mg6%
Potassium 321mg9%
Carbohydrates 26g9%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 2g2%
Protein 6g12%
Vitamin A 2135IU43%
Vitamin C 12.3mg15%
Calcium 121mg12%
Iron 1.5mg8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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38 thoughts on “Pasta with a Lemon Butter Sauce”

  1. I haven’t had ziti noodles in ages and I love switching it up and trying something I won’t normally when it comes to noodles. This sounds so yummy, I love anything lemon!

    1. We tend to have the most random mix of noodles in the pantry. Half a box of this, a quarter box of that…. it makes me switch up the noodles since I don’t want them to go to waste!

  2. The pasta addict in me tells me to make that recipe tonight for dinner. I hope it looks as pretty as yours.

    1. You know, I’ve learned over the years it isn’t always about how pretty it looks, as long as the food tastes good! We just have to make it look pretty for my photos 🙂

  3. Pasta with lemon sauce is one of my fave ways to cook and eat pasta! I used to work at an italian restaurant and we made this all the time! Yum!

  4. Ha! I just made a lemon butter sauce for dinner tonight… It’s such a good idea to go through the fridge and pantry and save some money (I’m all for that!) thanks for the recipe ; )

    1. I love meals like this during the week. We have some nights when my son has after school clubs and scouts that we have a very limited time for dinner. Having quick meals is essential!

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