You will love this simple one-pot meal if you are a pasta lover.
Fettuccine with lemon mascarpone sauce. This is that recipe that, no matter what, tastes delicious.
It’s one of my favorite lemon pasta sauces I love updating.
Truth be known, I love mascarpone, and I constantly add more to make it creamier and creamier.
Mascarpone is that delightful cheese that melts and tends out this fantastic cream.
And then, of course, the French in me kicks in, and here, we are adding more butter. I am incorrigible.
But butter and pasta are just the best combinations.
And then there is lemon. By now, you know how much I love lemon and how often I incorporate it into my cooking.
The mascarpone melts and blends magically with the lemon. A bit of lemon zest and the oils are released in the butter, transcending into this perfect cream.
In this Article
- What is Mascarpone?
- What do you use mascarpone for?
- Recipe tips for this fantastic lemon pasta recipe
- Equipment Needed
- What is a good substitute for mascarpone?
- How to make this one-pot of fettuccine lemon mascarpone sauce
- Substitutes and additions
- Can I enjoy this dish as a main dish?
- Frequently Asked Questions
- If you enjoy this dish, check out these flavorful recipes:
- Fettuccine with Lemon Mascarpone Sauce
What is Mascarpone?
A wonderfully soft Italian cheese made with only two ingredients: Heavy cream and citric or tartaric acid.
The heavy cream is heated, then the acid is added to solidify, thicken the cream, and passed through a cheesecloth to remove any water remnants.
It is a combination of cream and cheese. It has its particular cheese. For me, it is between creme fraiche and ricotta cheese. However, mascarpone is more spreadable than ricotta.
However, a versatile cheese can be used for sweets or savory dishes.
It will be a true treat if you can find a local cheese producer and enjoy some homemade mascarpone cheese. So soft and creamy.
What do you use mascarpone for?
You are probably familiar with it as it is one of the main ingredients of the super decadent creamy layer in tiramisu dessert.
It can be added to so many savory dishes that it provides a rich, almost velvety, creamy element to it.
I use it instead of butter in the morning and spread it over my toasted bread or English muffin. A little jam, and it is so delicious.
Use it in place of whipping cream with your fresh fruits as a dessert.
You can add it to cakes and muffins. When the use of sour cream is needed, I replace it with mascarpone.
And of course pasta dishes.
Recipe tips for this fantastic lemon pasta recipe
Before crafting this delectable fettuccine with lemon mascarpone sauce, remember a few tips.
- First, ensure you have high-quality mascarpone cheese; it’s the star ingredient and will significantly influence the richness and flavor of your sauce.
- Make sure your lemons are fresh; using lemon zest and juice from newly picked lemons will provide that vibrant citrus flavor that pairs so beautifully with the creamy mascarpone.
- Don’t shy away from seasoning; a pinch of salt can balance the sweetness, while a hint of fresh cracked pepper can give the dish an extra dimension.
- For the perfect bite, cook your pasta al dente against the luscious sauce.
- Before draining the pasta, reserve one cup of the starchy pasta water just in case you will need it to add more creaminess to your lemon pasta.
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What is a good substitute for mascarpone?
Creme fraiche is the closest substitute for mascarpone. It is slightly more acidic and with a tangy flavor.
Sour cream is another ingredient that can be used as a substitute.
Cream cheese is blended with heavy cream to give it that softness.
Ricotta cheese, although a bit more grainy.
Some people will also use plain Greek yogurt. They both have that velvety, smooth, creamy texture, thus making the yogurt a great substitute.
Philadelphia cheese is a good contander. It contains less fat, but it also has a tangier taste to it.
How to make this one-pot of fettuccine lemon mascarpone sauce
This is the easiest recipe ever.
- Cook the pasta al dente, meaning to the bite. This is usually a couple of minutes before the manufacturer’s recommended cooking time.
- While the pasta is cooking, zest the lemon and set aside.
- Before draining the pasta, reserve at least a cup of the cooking pasta water. The cooking water has all the starch from the pasta. This starch is excellent to use if the pasta gets dry when mixing it with the sauce.
- Have your mascarpone at room temperature.
- Drain the pasta and put the pasta back into the pan you just drained it from.
- Place it back on the burner but do not turn the heat back on.
- Add the butter, mascarpone, and juice from half of the lemon and half of the lemon zest.
- Mix well, and if dry, add more of the cooking water. It will look and feel creamy.
- Serve on your pasta dishes, and sprinkle the remaining lemon zest equally over each plate.
Substitutes and additions
- Linguine and spaghetti are great substitutes for fettucine. Angel hair pasta is excellent with it. It cooks faster; thus, remember to remove it from the cooking water a bit early. Make more sauce, as angel hair pasta tends to absorb more sauce.
- Any pasta shape that will hold the sauce is excellent, too; make more sauce, as you will lose some in the pasta cavities.
- For those looking for a gluten-free option, consider using gluten-free pasta varieties such as those made from rice, corn, or quinoa flour. They pair wonderfully with the sauce while accommodating dietary restrictions.
- You might toss in some sautéed spinach or arugula at the end for an extra touch of green and a hint of earthiness.
- A sprinkle of toasted pine nuts can enhance the final presentation and taste for a nuttier flavor.
- Add a kick of heat by sprinkling some red pepper flakes into the sauce.
To keep your fettuccine with lemon mascarpone sauce tasting fresh, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. Reheat gently over low heat, adding a splash of water to loosen the sauce if needed.
Freezing is not recommended, as it may adversely affect the texture and consistency of the creamy mascarpone sauce.
Can I enjoy this dish as a main dish?
Yes, you can. This recipe is based on four adult servings. Add a bit more pasta if you are hungry.
Frequently Asked Questions
May I add protein to this pasta recipe?
Absolutely! Lemon salmon is one of my favorites; it has the same lemon feel. It is a great dish that is paired well with chicken breast or fish. On the lighter side, a simple green salad with a lemon vinaigrette is all you need for a quick dinner.
I would, however, not recommend mixing the salmon and chicken with the pasta. The salmon will flake away. The chicken will make the lemon sauce dry. Serve them alongside.
What are some vegetarian protein options that work well with this dish?
Grilled tofu or tempeh are excellent sources of vegetarian protein that complement the creaminess of the mascarpone sauce without overpowering the delicate balance of flavors. You can also add cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas) for protein boost.
Is there a non-dairy alternative to mascarpone that I can use in this recipe?
For a non-dairy substitute, you can opt for vegan cream cheese mixed with coconut cream to mimic the richness and texture of mascarpone. Keep in mind that this will alter the flavor profile slightly.
What alternative citrus can be used if lemons are not available?
You can use limes for a similar zesty flavor if lemons are unavailable. Oranges can also be used for a sweeter and less tart sauce, though you may want to adjust the amount of zest and juice used accordingly.
How can I thicken the sauce if it’s too runny?
If the sauce is too thin, you can thicken it by adding a small amount of grated Parmesan cheese and stirring continuously until the desired consistency is reached. If you’re avoiding dairy, a slurry of cornstarch and water, added and cooked briefly, can also help thicken the sauce.
Can I use bottled lemon juice instead of fresh?
Fresh lemon juice is recommended for the best flavor, but you can use bottled lemon juice in a pinch. Be aware that bottled juice tends to have a more acidic and less vibrant flavor, so you might want to adjust the amount to taste.
If you enjoy this dish, check out these flavorful recipes:
Enjoy this super easy lemon mascarpone pasta, a 15-minute recipe.
And if you are like me, I know from this day forward, mascarpone cheese will have a spot in your refrigerator.
Fettuccine with Lemon Mascarpone Sauce
- Cook the fettuccine according to package instructions. When done al dente, reserve 1 cup of pasta water, drain the pasta, and put the pasta back in the pan.
- Add the butter, add the lemon juice, half of the lemon zest, and mascarpone. Mix well and adjust the mascarpone or lemon to your liking. If dry add some of the cooking water.
- Serve on pasta dishes and sprinkle the remainder of the lemon zest
Giangi’s Kitchen provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as a registered dietician does not calculate them.
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This recipe was first published in July 2011.