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Lemon arugula pasta featured image.

Lemon Arugula Pasta

Bright lemon and peppery arugula combine with garlic, oil, and Parmigiano in this simple pasta dish.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 569kcal
Author James


  • 1 pound gemelli pasta substitute penne, rigatoni, etc.
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced
  • 8 ounces baby arugula
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or 1 lemon worth
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest or 1 lemon worth
  • ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano grated, plus extra for shaving
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus more to taste
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil plus more for finishing
  • 1 cup reserved pasta water might not need all of it


  • Bring a large pot of salted (2 tablespoons kosher salt) water to boil. Cook pasta to al dente. Reserve the pasta water.
  • While waiting for pasta to cook, heat a large pan to medium-low heat. Wait 2 minutes for the pan to warm up then coat the pan with the extra virgin olive oil.  Saute the garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add the red pepper flakes.  Cook for 30 seconds longer.
  • When the pasta is almost done cooking add a ladle of pasta water to the pan and turn heat to medium.
  • Add the al dente pasta and the arugula to the pan and toss to coat.  Season with a bit of salt and cook for 1 minute. Turn the heat off and set pan aside.
  • Add the lemon juice, lemon zest, and grated cheese. Toss to emulsify.  If the pasta is too dry add a bit more pasta water and toss once more.
  • Taste test and make final adjustments to salt.  Serve in bowls with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. Use a vegetable peeler to easily shave the cheese.  Enjoy!


  • Arugula shrinks substantially after wilting.  8 ounces is a lot, but use more if you like.
  • To add extra texture, leave some of the arugula uncooked, and serve on individual bowls upon plating.
  • A vegetable peeler makes long shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano with ease.
  • Leftovers can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the microwave.


Calories: 569kcal | Carbohydrates: 87.5g | Protein: 19.7g | Fat: 18.1g | Saturated Fat: 3.9g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 659mg | Potassium: 240mg | Fiber: 5.1g | Sugar: 3.5g | Calcium: 218mg | Iron: 5mg