Simple and rustic, this pasta dish has something for everyone!
Dress it up for a special occasion by pairing it with scallops or chicken, or keep it simple and enjoy a big bowl topped with grated Parmesan cheese.
There’s no wrong answer, and it’s guaranteed to be delicious any day of the week!
What’s in this One Pan Lemon Caper Pasta recipe
You don’t need a gourmet recipe to create something special!
A short list of simple ingredients is all you’ll need to create this delicious pasta dish with so much flavor! Here’s what you’ll need:
- Spaghetti, linguine or light angel hair pasta. Different pasta cooks for different amounts of time, so be sure to check the box for al dente instructions.
- Lemons. We’ll be using both the lemon juice and lemon zest to maximize the fresh flavors.
- Garlic. Real garlic cloves will give this dish the best flavor. In a pinch, you can use the minced garlic that comes in a jar at the grocery store (I do it all the time).
- Dry white wine. Think Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc. These wines have higher levels of acidity and will complement the other ingredients.
- Extra virgin olive oil
You’ll notice that this recipe does not call for any salt. This is because capers are naturally quite salty and briny, and when you top the pasta with salty Parmesan, it’s often all you need.
If you feel that it still needs more once you taste the final result, go ahead and add a pinch of salt.
How to Make Lemon Caper Pasta
First, cook your pasta until it is al dente. Remember to reserve some of that starchy pasta water before you drain it.
I always forget! Don’t be like me.
Once your pasta is set aside, make the lemon caper sauce. First, saute the garlic and capers in the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Then stir in the wine, lemon juice and zest and reserved pasta water.
It all comes together in less than 15 minutes! Put the pasta back into the hot pan and toss it with the white wine sauce.
See the full instructions in the recipe card below.
How to Serve Lemon Caper Pasta
Here are some of my favorite ways to enjoy this fresh and delicious pasta dish:
- As a Main Course: Enjoy Lemon Caper Pasta as a satisfying main dish alongside a simple green salad or steamed green beans.
- With Seafood: Lemon and capers are natural flavor pairings for grilled shrimp and seared scallops. Adding protein rounds out the meal and makes it complete.
- As a Side Dish: Serve Lemon Caper Pasta as a side to grilled salmon or chicken piccata.
What are Capers?
Capers are small, green, and highly aromatic flower buds that grow on a bush-like tree. They’ve got a characteristic tang and slightly salty flavor.
Capers are widely used in Mediterranean and Italian cooking, adding a punch of flavor to lots of preparations, including pasta dishes, fish, salads, and sauces.
In one of my favorite movies, they’re described as “salty peas”. Both hilarious and basically accurate.
Variations on this One Pan Lemon Caper Pasta Recipe
There are many delicious recipes to explore while using this simple pasta recipe as a base. Here are some ideas:
- Lemon Caper Chicken Pasta: Add grilled or pan-seared chicken to the pasta and serve it sliced, over top the pasta.
- Creamy Lemon Caper Pasta: Incorporate a few swirls of heavy cream into the sauce to create a velvety smooth pasta dish.
- Seafood Lemon Caper Pasta: Combine the tangy flavors with seafood like shrimp, scallops, or flaked salmon to create a summery main course.
- Spicy Lemon Caper Pasta: Add a few shakes of red pepper flakes to bring a component of heat to the sauce.
How to Store this One Pan Lemon Caper Pasta
Store this pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The next time you want to enjoy it, reheat in the microwave or on the stove top.
Sometimes it helps to add a drizzle of olive oil or a tablespoon of butter while reheating, just to reconstitute the ingredients.
This One Pan Lemon Caper Pasta is a great recipe for any day of the week.
And when you make it, I’d love to hear about it! Drop a rating or leave a comment below. Enjoy!
For more pasta recipes, try these:
- Pasta with Creamy Blush Sauce
- Feta Pasta with Tomatoes and Spinach
- Pasta alla Vodka with Sweet Peas and Bacon
- Crab & Corn Pasta with Sherry Cream Sauce
- Pesto Ricotta Papardelle with Burst Tomatoes
One Pan Lemon Caper Pasta Recipe (With White Wine)
- 1 lb. spaghetti or linguine
- 1/3 cup dry white wine
- 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 4 Tbsp. unsalted butter
- 3 Tbsp. capers
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
- Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water. Drain and set aside.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and garlic. Saute the garlic until it's sizzling. Add the capers and cook 1 more minute.
- Pour in the wine. Cook until the wine reduces by half.
- Stir in the lemon juice, zest and reserved pasta water. Add the cooked pasta back to the pan and toss to coat.
- Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and cracked black pepper.