When life gives you lemons, what do you do? If you’re Cassandra Morris, you concoct a divine lemon sauce with white wine to go with fettuccine pasta.
This lemon white wine pasta sauce recipe is the ultimate game changer. While I do love myself a rich carbonara and a light aglio olio, this white wine sauce is the perfect in-between.
If you’re someone who loves to experiment with new flavors, you are going to love this one. This pasta is coated with a lemon-infused garlic cream sauce, and the white wine does wonders that you can only experience when you’re cooking this dish!
This lemon garlic pasta is super versatile, meaning the amount of each ingredient can be suited to your liking. My guideline recipe creates a white wine sauce that highlights the citrus and gives off subtle hints of garlic and parmesan.
The specific amounts of each ingredient are listed in the recipe card below, but you are free to play around with the flavors as you like. If you find that you’ve got a sauce that’s too lemony or too creamy for your liking, adjust the amounts as you go along.
- Gluten-free fettuccine – My favorite brand is Barilla. Regular fettuccine or spaghetti also works, of course. If using gluten-free pasta, handle with care as it tends to be more brittle once they’re cooked.
- Your favorite white wine – Any white wine will work, and it doesn’t have to be an exquisite and expensive variety. I am using Sauvignon Blanc.
- Lemon – Grate the zest and squeeze the life out of this lemon. It is lemon pasta after all. Keep some zest for garnishing later on.
- Butter and olive oil – For sauteing the garlic.
- Minced garlic – I use 4 medium-sized cloves in this recipe and I find that it is just right for me since I want the lemon and wine to stand out.
- Parmesan cheese – Grate some parmesan cheese to melt in the sauce.
- Whipping cream – This buttery milk (also known as heavy cream or Chantilly cream) gives the sauce its creamy consistency.
- Salt and pepper – Adjust to taste.
- Fresh basil leaves – For garnishing. Feel free to use other herbs and spices (like oregano, rosemary, red pepper flakes, or Italian seasoning).
- Cherry tomatoes and arugula – I like to top the white wine pasta with a handful of juicy cherry tomatoes and arugula. Tastes so fresh!
To make this lemon garlic pasta, simply cook the pasta, mix the sauce, and combine both. All done! All it takes is three simple steps (four, if you count the sipping of chilled Sauvignon Blanc while cooking).
Step One: Cook the fettuccine in a large pot of salted boiling water. Once the pasta has finished cooking, scoop out 1 cup of the pasta water and set it aside. Drain the pasta and drizzle olive oil on the pasta. This prevents it from sticking together.
Step Two: Cook garlic in a deep skillet until it starts to turn golden. Pour in the wine and lemon juice, simmering for 3 to 5 minutes. Mix the 1 cup of reserved pasta water into the skillet and stir to combine.
Then, sprinkle the parmesan cheese, stirring until melted. Pour in the whipping cream and lemon zest and let it simmer for about 1 minute.
Step Three: Combine the sauce and the pasta. See Tips & Tricks section.
Garnish with lemon zest and fresh basil leaves (or herb of choice). Serve warm with fresh cherry tomatoes, arugula, and a glass of chilled white wine. Bon Appetit!
Tips & Tricks
Remember to adjust flavors:
This is your pasta, so ultimately, make something that tastes best to you. Tweak the flavors as needed. For example, if your sauce has become too lemony, you can mellow down the tartness by using more heavy cream. If you are a fan of citrus, then double down on the lemon juice.
How to coat pasta with sauce:
One helpful trick I’ve learned is to scoop the pasta into the sauce skillet instead of pouring sauce on top of the fettuccine. Placing the fettuccine into a pot of sauce allows it to soak it all up while it’s still hot from cooking. This results in the most flavorful pasta ever!
Adjust the consistency of the lemon sauce:
If your lemon white wine pasta sauce turns out to be very thick and creamy, mix in some more pasta water until you’re happy with the consistency.
Complete your lemon white wine pasta with optional proteins:
- Grilled and shredded cajun chicken breasts
- Grilled tempeh (fermented soybeans from Indonesia)
- Cajun shrimps
- Garlic and white wine clams
- Roasted zucchini, corns, and portobello mushrooms
Accommodations for dietary restrictions:
- Lactose intolerant – Good news: heavy cream and parmesan have almost zero lactose, so it is safe to keep using them in this recipe. To err on the side of caution, exclude cream and cheese from this recipe, and you will be rewarded with a light, zingy sauce!
- Plant-based – Swap the whipping cream for full-fat coconut cream, the butter for olive oil, and the parmesan cheese for any vegan cheese.
White Wine Lemon Pasta Sauce Recipe
- 1 box gluten free fettuccine (our favorite brand is Barilla)
- 1/2 cup of your favorite white wine
- 1 large lemon zested + juiced
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated + additional for serving
- 1/4 cup whipping cream
- extra-virgin olive oil
- salt + pepper
- cherry tomatoes
- fresh basil
- Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water (1 tablespoon of salt for every 6 cups of water) until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally.
- Once the pasta is finished cooking, scoop out about 1 cup of the pasta water and set aside before draining.
- After draining the pasta, add olive oil to the pasta and set aside until the sauce is finished.
- Add garlic and butter to the skillet and cook until the garlic starts to turn golden.
- Add in the wine and lemon juice and simmer for 3-5 minutes.
- Add the 1 cup of reserved pasta water, stir, and then add in the parmesan cheese stirring until melted.
- Add whipping cream and lemon zest, simmer for about 1 minute.
- Pour the lemon wine sauce with the fettuccine and toss until pasta is evenly coated with sauce.
- Serve warm with fresh basil, rainbow tomatoes, arugula and a glass of chilled white wine.