Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta

creamy lemon asparagus pasta in a skillet

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta is a 30 minute vegetarian meal that’s cozy and incredibly delicious. I call it comfort food, spring style!

creamy lemon asparagus pasta on a plate with fork

creamy lemon asparagus pasta is all about balance

Let’s be honest ~ no matter how much we might love the change of seasons, and rejoice in all those fresh crisp veggies coming into season, we’re not always in the mood for salad for dinner. And as much as we’re thrilled to see the backend of winter, sooooooometimes we crave a little bit of that comfort food factor in our meals. Enter this delicious pasta dinner that celebrates the freshness of spring asparagus combined with the decadence of a simple lemon cream sauce. Mic drop.

creamy lemon asparagus pasta in a skillet topped with Parmesan cheese

what you’ll need

  • pasta ~ I used bowties here, but feel free to sub in any shape you like. Spirals would catch the sauce nicely, but penne would echo the shape of the asparagus…
  • asparagus ~ trimmed and cut into 2-3 inch pieces. Which is better, thick or thin asparagus? I tackle that question in this asparagus gratin post but spoiler alert: while both are delicious (research has found that thicker asparagus is actually more tender!) thin stalks work best for this dish.
  • heavy cream makes the sauce decadent and it won’t curdle when combined with the lemon juice.
  • lemon – zest and juice give the sauce its signature flavor.
  • butter adds a little body to the creamy sauce.
  • parmesan cheese adds its unique brand of salty nuttiness that complements the other flavors just perfectly and adds satisfying body to the sauce.
  • salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper

bowtie pasta in a creamy lemon sauce, with asparagus

pasta recipes are meant to be messed with

Even though I write recipes for a living, the way I cook in real life is a lot more loose and recipe-free. I think pasta is the perfect excuse to practice your improv skills.

  • Use a different seasonal vegetable like fresh (or frozen) peas, spinach, arugula, or broccoli.
  • Add chicken, shrimp, sausage, bacon, or prosciutto, for a protein boost.
  • Go totally minimalist and make a delicious, simple pasta with just the lemon cream sauce and lots of fresh pepper. I’ve been there and it’s amazing.
  • Vary the flavor of the sauce by adding a little white wine, garlic or shallot.

cooking lemon asparagus pasta in a skillet

more pasta for dinner

creamy lemon asparagus pasta in a skillet
4.89 from 17 votes

Creamy Lemon and Asparagus Pasta

Creamy Lemon Asparagus Pasta is cozy and comforting, yet light and springy at the same time ~ this easy pasta recipe is incredibly delicious!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 6 servings
Calories 391kcal
Author Sue Moran


  • 3/4 lb dried pasta
  • 1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 8 ounces heavy cream
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup pasta cooking water
  • fresh cracked pepper and parmesan cheese, for serving


  • Cook the pasta in a big pot of well salted water until just al dente. I usually cook it for a few minutes shy of what it says on the box.
    farfalle pasta
  • Drop the asparagus in for the last minute of cooking. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  • Meanwhile pour the cream into a skillet with deep sides (big enough to hold the finished pasta) and bring to a simmer. Add the lemon juice, zest, and salt.
    heavy cream in a skillet with lemon juice and zest
  • Add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, to the sauce, and stir to melt it. Taste to adjust the salt or the lemon juice.
    melting butter into cream sauce
  • Add the drained pasta and asparagus to the skillet and toss to combine, adding the 1/4 cup hot pasta water along with it.
    making creamy lemon and asparagus pasta in a skillet
  • Serve immediately, topped with plenty of Parmesan cheese and fresh cracked black pepper.
    creamy lemon asparagus pasta in a skillet with lemons


Calories: 391kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 10g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 62mg | Sodium: 214mg | Potassium: 316mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 1244IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 2mg
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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    Leave a Reply

    Please rate this recipe!

  • Reply
    June 27, 2022 at 5:35 pm

    4 stars
    Very tasty and an easy evening dinner. Made this with coconut cream so it is dairy free but did use parmesan and used a high end gluten free lemon pasta, shaved some nutmeg into the sauce. Recommend!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2021 at 2:21 pm

    4 stars
    Hi Sue, looking forward to trying this one out! I’ve made similar meals in the past and my ‘Inprov skill’ was to vary the herbs – I love the mix of Basil & Curly Parsley with simple asparagus, but haven’t tried it with white wine & cream! SO once again you’ve inspired me and the family’s tastebuds! I’ve rated this on the ingredients and the improv options you discuss above, will rate it after we’ve eaten it sometime this week. Cheers…

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