Lemon Spaghetti with Artichokes

LAST UPDATED: Feb 10, 2020 | PUBLISHED: Jan 13, 2020 | By: Julie Blanner

Lemon Spaghetti with Artichokes is a fresh and flavorful spring and summer infused pasta that’s full of flavor. This easy vegetarian weeknight meal comes together in 20 minutes using a handful of simple ingredients. The creamy lemon pasta sauce is light and fresh and the fried artichokes are to die for!

lemon cream sauce over spaghetti with gremolata in pan wrapped with linen

So much changes around here as the weather does. The trees are in bloom, bulbs are popping up everywhere I look, I’m actually cleaning again and prefer a chardonnay to a cab. It must be spring!

After months of gloom, we enjoyed a beautiful day filled with sunshine, which is exactly how I’d describe this lemon cream sauce tossed with spaghetti and lightly fried artichokes! It’s a ray of light and fresh flavors all wrapped up into one pretty dish.

I rarely fry, but these fried artichokes are worth a little smoke and splatter! I can eat them like candy. The next time we make this dish we’re going to fry a few extras to save for our salads for the week! Frying them gets them wonderfully crispy and really brings out the flavor.

If you haven’t noticed, I love inspired Italian. While I enjoy the occasional carbonara, vodka sauce or bolognese, (all winter favorites), I also crave inspired Italian dishes like Cacio e Pepe and this Lemon Spaghetti with Fried Artichokes. Who doesn’t love lemon butter pasta?

Lemon Spaghetti is the perfect transition from winter to spring. It’s a vegetarian dish that leaves you feeling fulfilled and  your taste buds delighted!

One of the many things I love about making pasta is how everyone in our family pitches in. Chris zested the lemon, Adalyn crushed the pine nuts, the littles topped it with gremolata. All of this in less than 20 minutes from start to finish, which is perfect for their short attention spans.

I love that lemon is one of those rare flavors that works just as beautifully in sweet and savory dishes. Did you know you can grow your very own Meyer lemon trees at home? it’s so much easier than you’d think! 

To Make Lemon Spaghetti with Artichokes, You Will Need:

  • Spaghetti: I love to use spaghetti with this sauce, but linguini would also work well. Use your favorite brand or make your own pasta in minutes!
  • Lemon: Lemon juice and zest is used for a really fresh and fragrant lemon sauce. Don’t be tempted to use bottled lemon juice, fresh is always best!
  • Pine nuts, garlic and parsley: Mixed together to make a gremolata to top the finished dish to add flavor, texture and color.
  • Olive oil: Used for frying the artichoke hearts, you can also use a vegetable oil.
  • Artichoke hearts: Use canned and quartered artichoke halves. When fried they are wonderfully flavored and a perfect accompaniment to the lemon sauce.
  • Cream and butter: The lemon sauce is wonderfully creamy and pulls together the whole dish.

lemon cream sauce over bed of spaghetti in saucepan with wooden spoon

How to Make Lemon Spaghetti with Artichokes

This easy family weeknight meal comes together in just 20 minutes.

  1. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and prepare spaghetti al dente.
  2. Combine zest, pine nuts, garlic and parsley in a bowl. Set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, pour 1/8-1/4 c of olive oil {just enough to cover the pan well} over medium heat. Once it starts to smoke or pop, add artichokes face down until brown, about 3 minutes, using a spatula to ensure they don’t stick if necessary. Flip and fry opposite side 1 minute. how to cook artichokes  how to flash fry artichokes
  4. Add cream to pan and reduce for 7 minutes. Stir in lemon and butter. Toss in drained pasta.
  5. Garnish with gremolata (parsley mix).

Gremolata

What I’ve noticed from my favorite inspired Italian restaurants is they often top dishes with a gremolata which is an accompaniment often including garlic, parsley and citrus. This gremolata is made from garlic, fresh parsley, lemon zest and crushed pine nuts, something I never dreamed the girls would eat, let alone enjoy. They, like me, wanted extra gremolata and it’s so quick and easy to make.

lemon artichoke pasta in a saucepan

lemon butter pasta with gremolata

Tips

  • Cook the spaghetti al dente, it will continue to cook after it has been drained and when you add it to the sauce.
  • When frying the artichokes, make sure that the oil is hot before adding them to get them perfectly crispy. The oil should either be smoking or start to pop.
  • This dish is best served as soon as it is made, but if you do have leftovers you can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and gently reheat on the stove top.

lemon spaghetti

More easy weeknight recipes

If you try this lemon spaghetti with artichokes, please come back to share using my 5 star rating in the comments below! Not only do I appreciate it, but I know readers do, too! 

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lemon cream sauce for pasta

Lemon Spaghetti with Artichokes

A fresh, flavorful and filling Lemon Spaghetti with lightly fried artichokes and gremolata for a deliciously craveable spring and summer dish!
5 from 8 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 4 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings (hover to scale): 5 servings
Calories: 624kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts crushed
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 4 tablespoons fresh parsley minced
  • 1/8-1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 can quartered artichoke hearts drained
  • 3/4 cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and prepare spaghetti al dente.
  • Combine zest, pine nuts, garlic and parsley in a bowl. Set aside.
  • Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, pour 1/8-1/4 c of olive oil {just enough to cover the pan well} over medium heat. Once it starts to smoke or pop, add artichokes face down until brown, about 3 minutes, using a spatula to ensure they don't stick if necessary. Flip and fry opposite side 1 minute.
  • Add cream to pan and reduce for 7 minutes. Stir in lemon and butter. Toss in drained pasta.
  • Garnish with gremolata (parsley mix).

Notes

  • Cook the spaghetti al dente, it will continue to cook after it has been drained and when you add it to the sauce.
  • When frying the artichokes, make sure that the oil is hot before adding them to get them perfectly crispy. The oil should either be smoking or start to pop.
  • This dish is best served as soon as it is made, but if you do have leftovers you can keep them in an airtight container in the fridge and gently reheat on the stove top.
Gremolata is an accompaniment often including garlic, parsley and citrus. This gremolata is made from garlic, fresh parsley, lemon zest and crushed pine nuts. 

Nutrition

Calories: 624kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 297mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 1334IU | Vitamin C: 25mg | Calcium: 62mg | Iron: 2mg
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