Lemony Asparagus Pasta Lemony Asparagus Pasta
Prep 5 minutes
Total 15 minutes
US | Metric
Lemony Asparagus Pasta

This seasonal, springy pasta number is basically aglio e olio, with a lemony, asparagus twist. It starts with garlic, lemon zest and chilli flakes, sizzling in lots of good-quality extra-virgin olive oil. Add some thinly sliced asparagus, cut on a deep diagonal so that it curves and twirls with the spaghetti, parmesan and lemon juice and you’ve got yourself an absolute winner of a dish that comes together in just 15 minutes. 

  • 500 g spaghetti (or your pasta of choice)
  • 100 ml extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 lemons, zest and juice
  • ½ tsp crushed red chilli flakes
  • 500 g asparagus, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 100 g grana padano or parmigiano reggiano
  • 1 large handful fresh flat-leaf parsley


  1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Season generously with salt (the water should be sea-level salty). Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions until just short of al dente. 
  2. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the garlic, lemon zest and chilli flakes and cook, stirring frequently, for 2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant and has softened. 
  3. Add the asparagus and season with a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes, or until tender-crisp then remove from the heat and let sit until the spaghetti is cooked. 
  4. Drain the spaghetti, reserving 4 ladlefuls of the pasta cooking water. Transfer the spaghetti to the pan with the asparagus and heat over medium-high heat. 
  5. Squeeze in the juice from 1 lemon, add the grana padano and 2 ladlefuls of the pasta cooking water and cook, tossing vigorously, until a sauce forms and the pasta is nicely coated, adding more pasta water as needed. 
  6. Taste and adjust the salt and acidity level. Depending on how juicy your lemons are, you might want to add the juice of the second lemon as well (this is what I did but it’s a matter of preference). 
  7. Finish the pasta with the fresh parsley and toss to coat. Serve and enjoy!