Lemony Pasta with Prosciutto

Lemony Pasta with Prosciutto in a skillet with two forks

Get ready for some butter, and lots of it. Lemony Pasta with Prosciutto combines al-dente spaghetti with one stick of butter (keep reading, please), lots and lots of lemon, and a salty topping of thinly sliced prosciutto. It’s an easy pasta dinner idea with just 4 ingredients (plus salt and pepper) that’s equally as perfect for an elegant winter meal as it is for a spring or summery weeknight supper.

If cooking with that amount of butter intimidates you, I’d implore you to step outside of your comfort zone for this one. We’re supposed to do one thing per day that scares us, right?

Lemon and butter play well together, like good kids sharing their toys. The butter brings richness and flavor while lemon provides just enough pucker to make each bite come to life. With a few cracks of black pepper, the pasta would be complete, but a topping of fluttery pink prosciutto adds even more decadence and deliciousness. Gild the lily, as they say.

It’s comfort food at its simplest: A few ingredients that come together in less than a half hour to make something great for a special occasion, or for any unspecial night that requires an extra pat of butter, or two.

Let’s make Lemony Pasta with Prosciutto

Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt generously. Add the pasta and cook 1 minute less than package directions, until very al dente. Scoop out 1 1/2 cups of pasta cooking water. Turn off heat, do not drain.

butter melting in a skillet

Meanwhile, heat a 12-inch skillet with high sides over medium-low, add the butter and cook until melted.

lemon zest and butter in a silver skillet

Add the zest and juice of the lemons.

lemon and butter in a silver skillet

Add 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into the pan and stir to combine. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, then taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. It should taste very lemony and a little buttery. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

Overhead shot of spaghetti in a silver skillet with red tongs

When the pasta is ready, lift it out of the water with tongs and add it to the sauce. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce is emulsified and evenly coats the pasta, 2-3 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed.

Lemony Pasta with Prosciutto in a skillet with two forks

Off heat, top the pasta with the prosciutto. Serve, passing extra black pepper at the table.

Lemony Pasta with Prosciutto

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Dinner American, Italian
By Samantha Serves: 6
Total Time: 35 minutes

Lots of lemon (and lots of butter) come together in this easy, 4-ingredient recipe that's just as perfect for an elegant meal as it is for a weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 1 lb spaghetti, linguine, angel hair, capellini, or other long pasta
  • 8 Tbsp (1 stick) butter
  • Zest and juice of 2 large or 3 small lemons (about ½ cup juice)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ pound sliced prosciutto, torn or sliced into 2- to 3-inch pieces

Instructions

1

Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt generously. Add the pasta and cook 1 minute less than package directions, until very al dente. Scoop out 1 1/2 cups of pasta cooking water. Turn off heat, do not drain.

2

Meanwhile, heat a 12-inch skillet with high sides (or another large pot) over medium-low, add the butter and cook until melted. Add the zest and juice of the lemons. Add 1 cup of the pasta cooking water into the pan and stir to combine. Season the sauce with salt and pepper, then taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. It should taste very lemony and a little buttery. Bring the sauce to a simmer.

3

When the pasta is ready, lift it out of the water with tongs and add it to the sauce. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the pasta is al dente and the sauce is emulsified and evenly coats the pasta, 2-3 minutes. Taste and add more salt and pepper as needed. Off heat, top the pasta with the prosciutto.

4

Serve, passing extra black pepper at the table.

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2 Comments

  • Reply
    Samdra
    July 15, 2021 at 12:54 am

    This recipe was so yummy . The perfect summer pasta. I added a little more butter on top. Thank you !

    • Reply
      Samantha
      July 15, 2021 at 6:18 am

      A little more butter never hurts! So happy you enjoyed 🙂

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