Pasta with Lemon and Asparagus

Pasta with Lemon and Asparagus

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Pasta with Lemon and Asparagus

This pasta with lemon and asparagus recipe is easy and simple to make. In just less than 25 minutes you can have it ready to serve.

I was inspired to create this Italian recipe after reading through some online magazines looking for some ideas for a no-tomato pasta dish.

About the Sauce

I saw various renditions of a white sauce, but most used too much butter, or wine and just seemed to take longer than what I would like.

So I decided to follow the way I normally make my own simple Alfredo:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Butter
  • A little flour or cornstarch to thicken up just a bit

Simply melt the butter in a frying pan with sides and add in the the other ingredients which should be mixed together in a bowl. For this recipe we make some alterations for the purpose of the lemon and asparagus combo.

You’ll notice in this recipe the sauce is an alfredo sauce but it is not soupy. Some recipes use so much alfredo the pasta is practically swimming in it. This overpowers the dish completely.

This recipe is a refreshing pasta dish, one that is perfect for spring and summer.

This sauce is light and matches the delicacy of the lemon and asparagus. In fact, there are no tomatoes at all in this pasta recipe. And certainly no meatballs allowed. 😀

Lemon Zest Brings this Pasta Dish to Life

Knowing that asparagus and lemon goes excellent together, I thought I’d try adding some zest into the sauce along with chopped asparagus – making its a great accompaniment to the pasta.

If you are concerned that the lemon will turn this into a tangy lemon based sauce, don’t worry it doesn’t.  The zest does not overpower the dish, but instead adds a hint of brightness leaving you uplifted and satisfied.

Using Lemon Juice as an Alternative to the Lemon Zest

Okay, so we don’t always have fresh lemons ready to be used for their zest. In this case, yes you can substitute some lemon juice from concentrate by adding about a teaspoon of it to the alfredo sauce.

Lemon juice can cause milk to curdle so add it slowly while stirring. If it does separate, just give it a stir.

Remember we only want a hint of the lemon anyway. Adjust quantities as needed or to taste.

What Type of Pasta Should be Used

Since this recipe uses a creamy white sauce, I recommend using a thicker pasta, whether it’s long or short. Avoid the thin varieties such as angel hair, vermicelli, etc.

Suitable pastas include linguini, fettuccini, penne, farfalle. Avoid overly large pasta such as rotini.

If you’re using homemade pasta, remember that the cooking time will be shorter.

Fresh or Frozen Asparagus Can be Used

You can use either. I will often use a bag of frozen asparagus spears because I don’t grow fresh asparagus and it’s so expensive in the stores.

Fresh asparagus cooks very quickly, so if you want to use fresh asparagus simply simmer it over medium heat in a frying pan with some water until it can be easily pierced with a fork. I recommend taste testing it.

What Goes with Pasta with Lemon and Asparagus

In regards to what side dishes pair well with pasta, lemon and asparagus, think of refreshing and satisfying fresh vegetables and fruits.

Serve with some fresh Italian bread, a salad, and some mixed olives in a bowl. You can also serve this recipe with some caprese mozzarella and tomato skewers which are great for picnics and get togethers.

Fried eggplant is another side dish which would go great with this pasta recipe.

For dessert a bright ice cream, sherbert or gelato is always a winner along with a nice cup of hot espresso.  If you’re not in the mood for anything like that, slice up some fresh apples and enjoy.

How to Store Leftovers

Like any pasta recipe, knowing how long to store pasta in the refrigerator can be the difference between tomorrow’s lunch or the kitchen disposal.

To avoid arriving at the popular quote, “when in doubt, toss it out”, use up any leftovers within three days.

You can also freeze the leftovers, just make sure it is very tightly sealed in an air-tight bag or container with minimal air. I don’t recommend this but it can be done. Don’t store in the freezer longer than 6 months.

Here’s the recipe:

Pasta with Lemon and Asparagus Recipe

Delightful pasta dish with asparagus, lemon and alfredo.

Course Main Dish
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Pasta with Lemon and Asparagus Recipe
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings 4


  • 3/4 lb linguini
  • 2 TBLE Butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 tsp corn starch
  • 1/4 cup grated Romano cheese
  • 1 cup asparagus stalks trimmed and cut into 1 in. pieces frozen or fresh is fine
  • zest 1/2 lemon


  1. Start off by bringing a large pot of water to a boil.  Don't skimp on the size of the pot because you'll be cooking a whole pound and you don't want the linguine to stick together.

  2. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan melt the butter over medium heat.

  3. Meanwhile, in a bowl mix the milk, corn starch, pepper and lemon zest.   Mix well so there is no clumping.

  4. Add that to the butter mixture, using a whisk as you pour it in – bring to temperature. The mixing helps keep anything from sticking.

  5. Once up to temperature whisk in the cheese and stir until melted.

  6. By this time, the water should be boiling and you can add in the linguine.  It will take about 9 minutes until done.

  7. Take your chopped asparagus and add to the sauce and cook.  I used frozen organic asparagus from the store and that worked fine. 

  8. Once the pasta is done, transfer pasta using tongs to the sauce adding any extra pasta water if it appears too dry.   Always keep some pasta water off to the side.

  9. Toss pasta with sauce until coated and serve immediately.

This recipe is featured in my newsletter which you can join on my homepage or any of my recipes pages – I’ll keep you updated on various recipes and cooking tips and info!

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  1. Hi Liz,
    Thank you for the recipes in this month’s newsletter. A very happy Easter to you and all of your family and thank you for all of your lovely recipes and videos. Good luck. Best wishes from Ann in Victor Harbor, South Australia.

  2. Ciao Alberto,

    Thank you for stopping by. Your English is better than my Italian so no worries! I will stop by your blog and check out your recipes. It is always good to find websites that show true Italian recipes straight from the heart of Italy!

    Best of luck with your site, and feel free to stop by anytime.


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