Lemon Fusilli


lemon fusilli cover photo 4Cooking for a family is a balancing act.

You must please the adults.

You must please the kids.

This can be a monumental task. Everyone has flavors and textures they prefer.

Enter Lemon Fusilli. This flavor-bomb from Ina from Ina Garten is just one of those dishes. Yes, you will sample it repeatedly during preparation. Yes, your husband will give the official sound of approval: “Mmm.” (Double eye squint.) “Mmm, that’s good.” Yes, you will notice that after 15 seconds, your 5-year-old daughter’s pasta helping has disappeared. (Check the floor, because that’s where half of Cora’s food accidentally ends up. But it won’t be there.)

I love love love this dish. It simply makes good, sensible use of flavors and textures.

And it looks so darn pretty, too!

This dish is fabulous any time of year, but I particularly love it during the summer. Garden-fresh cherry tomatoes (especially the yellow ones – BELIEVE ME HERE) take Lemon Fusilli from phenomenal to mind-blowing.

Use garden-fresh yellow cherry tomatoes for an extra flavor punch.

Yellow tomatoes taste less acidic than red tomatoes. When cooked, they are sugary and rich and robust and heavenly. I still toss in some reds if they’re around – they’ll add color and flavor variety. Whatever cherry tomatoes you can get your hands on will work just fine.

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Ina’s recipe calls for arugula. But I bet you could use whatever greens you like. I’m not a big arugula fan, so I usually toss in spinach instead.

Lemon Fusilli

Add olive oil to a large skillet. Warm it up over medium-low heat for a few minutes.

Lemon Fusilli

Chop up two cloves of garlic and toss it in your warm skillet. Cook just until the garlic starts to smell (about 15 seconds).

Lemon Fusilli

Add in two cups of heavy cream, zest and juice of two lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes, or until thickened.

Lemon Fusilli

Meanwhile, boil your pasta in salted water according to package instructions.

Lemon Fusilli

Drain pasta and set aside. Once sauce is thickened, add cooked pasta to skillet. Cook over medium-low heat for a few minutes. Mmm. Creamy, lemony goodness.

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Toss in your greens and tomatoes.

Add some freshly grated Parmesan, a couple of lemon slices, and pat yourself on the back. YOU MADE THIS:

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Plate it up:

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Devour away. This is best hot from the pan, but it reheats well, too. I make it while my daughter is at school, cover the skillet, then just reheat at dinnertime. Yeah, I’m cool like that.

Thank you, thank you, Ina Garten!

Lemon Fusilli
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A creamy, hearty pasta dish packed with flavor! Lemon adds the tang and tomatoes add the sweetness to this beautiful and satisfying pasta. (Original recipe from Ina Garten)
Recipe type: Main
Serves: 4-6
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 c. heavy cream
  • 3 lemons
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. dried fusilli (corkscrew) pasta
  • ½ lb. fresh tender greens, chopped (ex: spinach, arugula)
  • 2 c. cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ c. freshly grated Parmesan
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic, and cook for 15-30 seconds. Add cream, the zest and juice of two lemons, two teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until slightly thickened (15-20 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, cook fusilli pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. Once lemon cream sauce has thickened, add cooked pasta to the skillet. Cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Add chopped greens, halved cherry tomatoes and Parmesan to the skillet. Stir.
  5. Cut final lemon crosswise into thin slices. Add 3-5 slices to the skillet and stir.
  6. Remove from heat and serve, using remaining lemon slices and extra Parmesan as garnish.

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