Giada De Laurentiis’ Lemon Spaghetti Is a Ridiculously Easy Weeknight Dinner

Giada De Laurentiis' lemon spaghetti promises a rich and tangy pasta dish. I had to put her recipe to the test.

If you’re the kind of person who squeezes lemon on everything they eat, you have not lived until you’ve tried Giada De Laurentiis’ lemon spaghetti.

This no-cook spaghetti sauce is a true weeknight savior, even for beginner cooks. Just whisk the sauce ingredients in a large bowl, add cooked spaghetti, toss to combine and dinner is ready! This pasta is savory thanks to Parmesan cheese, tart thanks to a ton of fresh lemon juice and perfumed with the fragrance of basil throughout.

Giada De Laurentiis’ Lemon Spaghetti Recipe


Ingredients for Giada De Laurentiis' Lemon SpaghettiAlexandra Shytsman for Taste of Home

  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

Editor’s Tip: You can easily make this recipe vegan by using a plant-based Parmesan cheese.


Step 1: Combine the sauce ingredients

In a large bowl, whisk together the cheese, oil, lemon zest and juice, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Step 2: Cook the pasta

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. (Check the package for a suggested cook time.)

Reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid and drain the pasta.

Step 3: Combine the sauce and pasta

Add the spaghetti to the bowl with the sauce, along with the basil. Toss the pasta with enough of the reserved cooking liquid to moisten, starting with 1/4 cup and adding more as needed. Taste and adjust the seasonings, if desired.

Divide among bowls and serve.

What to Serve with Giada De Laurentiis’ Lemon Spaghetti

Giada recommends serving this pasta with grilled fish—think grilled shrimp or grilled swordfish. Giada’s chicken piccata would also be a great pairing. To keep the meal vegetarian, go for grilled zucchini or tofu instead. Keep the Italian vibes going with Giada’s lemon ricotta cookies for dessert!

Tips for Making the Best Lemon Spaghetti

Giada De Laurentiis' Lemon Spaghetti served in a bowlAlexandra Shytsman for Taste of Home

  • This pasta calls for fresh lemon zest and juice. Be sure to zest the lemons before juicing, since it’s challenging to zest a cut lemon.
  • Do not let the spaghetti cool before combining it with the sauce. It’s key that the pasta is hot so it can absorb the sauce.
  • For a dairy-free version, swap the Parmesan cheese for vegan Parm.

For another famous lemon pasta, check out Ina Garten’s lemon capellini.

Alexandra Shytsman
Alexandra Shytsman is a recipe developer, food writer, photographer, and creator of The New Baguette, a recipe resource for the veg-curious. Her mission is to demystify plant-based food and inspire people to cook more healthy meals at home. She is co-author of The Complete Vegan Cookbook and teaches hands-on vegan cooking classes. Originally from Odessa, Ukraine, she immigrated to Brooklyn, NY when she was nine, where she's pretty much lived ever since. Follow her on Instagram at @thenewbaguette.