Lemon and Parmesan Pasta

Today is exciting because my favourite people in the entire world (apart from the Husband, the Dude and the Cat) are landing in San Francisco. My wonderful Mum and Dad are here for two weeks. It’s pretty heartbreaking when you adore your parents but live on the other side of an ocean and a continent. We have a spreadsheet of activity planned and it’s going to be amazing. I am SO happy.

Mum and Dad

Anyway. Food. I recently got Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbook ‘My Father’s Daughter’ out the library. I was lured by Gwyneth’s utter beauty and didn’t have great expectations for the book itself. It is a beautiful looking book – no denying that. But it’s actually a good cookbook, I tried a few recipes and they generally turned out well. So, Ms Paltrow, should you be reading this…I apologise for underestimating you and thanks for this particular recipe. I’m not sure how healthy it is so I may not be making it this month, but it does taste lovely.

I love this one because it tastes of a holiday we had a few years before we had the Dude on the stunning Amalfi Coast in Italy. You seriously need to go (and you need to stay here for at least one night, as we did). We also had two nights and one day on Capri, which was breathtaking. We did an amazing hike over the cliffs which remains one of the best memories the Husband and I have together – and that night, we sat in a little restaurant under the bell-tower on the main piazzetta in Capri Town and we had Lemon Pasta. Do you need to see this? I think so.

Idyllic, isn’t it.
Literally under the clock tower…
The view from our cliff hike…a bird’s eye view of Capri
Our best ever sandwich…literally Ramsden legend!

Once back in rainy old Yorkshire, I tried many times to recreate the recipe. Most efforts were honestly inedible. So when I found this recipe, I was over the moon.

Skinny Gwynny’s Lemon Parmesan Pasta recipe.


3/4 lb dried pasta (Gwyneth suggests spaghetti)

Coarse salt

One lemon

1 1/2 cups finely grated, fresh parmesan. (Don’t used shaved parmesan)

1/2 tsp fresh black pepper

2 1/2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil

3 – 5 tbsp pasta water, to thin

Handful fresh basil leaves (don’t skip this bit)


  1. Cook the pasta as per instructions/common sense
  2. Grate the lemon zest as finely as you can into a big bowl.
  3. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice into the bowl.
  4. Add the parmesan, pepper, a little salt (?) and mix in the olive oil to form a wet paste.
  5. When the pasta is perfect, add a little pasta water to the paste to thin it.
  6. Add the pasta and toss, adding more water if needed to coat every piece of pasta.
  7. Tear and add the basil leaves and add a bit more cheese  and pepper if you fancy it.
I only had tortellini in the house when I made it today – definitely not the right pasta, go with Penne or Rotini. Tasted great though.

Buon apetito! E grazie, Gwyneth!

5 Comments Add yours

  1. sarahannnoel says:

    I was wondering about Gwenyth’s book! So glad to hear you like it. I’m going to check it out now because this sounds DELICIOUS. And your photos! AMAZING. What a perfect spot to land in the middle of my day. Love your blog!

    the Reverie blog

    1. Cathryn says:

      Thank you so much!!! Just posting the photos made me want to go back, Capri was pretty amazing!! I really liked Gwyneth’s book.

  2. Yum! I’m obsessed with lemons, so this is the perfect meal for me. Hope you are having fun with your parents as I write this. Enjoy every precious morsel of time!

    1. Cathryn says:

      Doing my best 🙂 They are ecstatic with joy to have their grandson!! So sweet.

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