Lemon Basil Citronette – Easy Sauce & Marinade

lemon basil pasta

Ahh, summer is wrapping up and I love cooking and eating all the amazing fruits and vegetables that are showing up at the grocery store and blooming in my neighbor’s garden.  For the record, we’re no Peter Rabbits.  Our neighbors expressly gave us permission to pick from their container and herb garden.  Thank you, Mary and Eric.  I graciously accept.

Here’s a recipe that’s been a go-to of mine during these lazy summer days. This pasta recipe is easy, fast, and tastes great hot, cold, and during those days when I can only eat a few bites throughout the day.  The pasta sauce can be prepared in the same serving bowl or you can make a large amount and keep it in a mason jar for those days you need a quick sauce, marinade, or salad dressing.  For those of you who don’t measure, just remember that you need twice the amount of oil to acid.

Serves 4 as a main course or 6-8 as a side


Box of your favorite pasta
3 Tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces (I like using Roma or grape tomatoes, but you can use whatever you love)


1 lemon (zest and juice)
1/2 c olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 cup of basil (cleaned and chiffonade)
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup cooked pasta water

Cook the pasta to package instructions, reserve a cup of the cooked pasta water, and drain the rest of the pasta.

While you’re waiting for the water to boil and the pasta to cook, put the lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, salt, and pepper in a bowl or mason jar.  Emulsify the ingredients by whisking or shaking up the jar a few times.  Add the basil and cheese.

Toss in the pasta, tomatoes, and add a quarter cup of the pasta water to the sauce.  You can add more water to achieve the consistency of sauce you like.  I don’t typically use more than that, but reserve a full cup as a precautionary measure.

Feel free to add some protein to make it a little heartier.  I think some grilled shrimp or lobster, chicken, or tofu would go very well.  I also love fresh mozzarella in this recipe too.

This sauce can be customized to any palette, so add more garlic, basil, or lemon if you like.  Switch the black pepper for red pepper flakes for some added heat.  I’m obsessed with cheese, so I grate more over top before serving.  If you wanted to add other herbs, thyme would be a great complement to the lemon.

You can make a large batch of the sauce and keep it in the fridge for up to a week.  I think it would be a great marinade for chicken thighs or as a dressing for a grilled vegetable salad.

lemon basil citronette

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