Creating Bold Flavors: Lemon Garlic Cream Sauce

pasta 3

It has to be obvious at this point that creamy pastas are my kryptonite. There is just something so magical about a cream sauce that packs a ton of flavor. The one downside of a cream sauce is that they can feel overly decadent. For tonight’s meal I wanted to try and explore the lighter side of the cream sauce, if there is such a thing.

It turns out making a light and fresh tasting cream sauce is incredibly easy. For most of my cream sauces I make the cream the base of the sauce and then whisk the items with flavor into the sauce, such as parmesan cheese or tomato paste. This time I built the base of the sauce around cooked garlic, fresh herbs, olive oil and lemon. Then I added less butter and cream than I do in my alfredo and tomato cream sauces. I added just enough to give the sauce a luxurious, rich flavor and give the sauce some body, but not so much that the noodles were swimming in the cream. This is a quick, easy, fresh tasting sauce that can be created on any day of the week.


  • 1/2 pound linguine
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • The juice and zest of one lemon
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • parmesan cheese and fresh basil to top it off

Start by cooking your pasta to al dente, usually one minute less than package directions. In a pan heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Cook the garlic until it becomes fragrant and starts to brown, about one to two minutes. Once your garlic is browned add the thyme and lemon zest and juice. Stir it over the heat for about a minute just to get everything to mix together. Then add the butter and let it melt, once melted add the cream. Finish off your sauce by adding the nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Add your pasta and give it a good stir just to get all the noodles coated and serve it up. I topped my pasta with parmesan and fresh basil and served it alongside a simple chicken cutlet and glass of moscato for a relaxed yet refined weeknight meal.

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