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Creamy lemon pasta in a white bowl with fresh basil on top.

Creamy Lemon Pasta Sauce

While this pasta dish is warm and creamy, the lemon and orange zests brighten it up and bring a big flavor!

Yield: 4-6 servings 1x
Prep: 15 minutesCook: 15 minutesTotal: 30 minutes


  • 12 oz. spaghetti or linguine
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons cognac or 2 tablespoons dry sherry (sherry cooking wine will work)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • zest of 1 navel orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, plus more for the pasta water
  • 12 leaves fresh basil, chopped or torn
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • optional: add 1 lb of cooked shrimp to the pasta. I love it this way!

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  1. Cook pasta according to directions until al dente, making sure to salt the water once it comes to a boil. Drain.
  2. While pasta is cooking, warm the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.
  3. Add in the dry sherry, lemon and orange zest, and salt. Simmer for 7-10 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in the basil.
  5. Toss the hot, drained pasta with the sauce and grated cheese.


Pasta Pro Tips

Here are some general tips in order to make pasta like a pro!

  1. Salt the water. After your water comes to a boil, add in salt (here’s how much). This allows the pasta to absorb the salt from the inside out.
  2. Don’t overcook it! I almost always err on the shorter cooking side when given a range.
  3. Use a big pot and plenty of water. Fill your pot with at least 2 quarts for each 1/2 pound of pasta. This will help prevent your pasta from sticking together during cooking.
  4. Stir right away and every couple of minutes. Pasta will want to start clumping together if you don’t give it a stir.
  5. Don’t rinse your pasta after it’s been drained. While it may seem logical, don’t run cold water over your hot pasta. You’ll risk losing the flavorful starches that will help sauces cling to it later.
© Author: Polly Conner
Cuisine: Italian Method: Stove top