Light and Creamy Lemon Garlic Whole Grain Spaghetti

The month of April is rapidly coming to an end and May is beginning. Which means the beginning of summertime-esque recipes in the kitchen! Yeah, I know that summer doesn’t start until June. But who can wait that long? I’m ready for flip-flops, sangria, sand, and grilled burgers right NOW. Who’s with me?

So in the spirit of summer, I’m presenting you with this simple, satisfyingly summer-ish dish. You might be wondering what makes a dish summer-ish? Here’s my criteria:

  1. Easy. “It’s summer and I want to make something really hard and challenging for dinner tonight.” – Said No One Ever.
  2. Quick. Because on a summer evening nobody wants to spend hours in a hot kitchen.
  3. Fresh and Light. How can you get out and enjoy the summer days if your stomach is full of hearty stew? Plus, you’ve gotta take advantage of summer’s bounty (you know…vegetables, herbs and all that good stuff).

Now onto my summer-ish recipe –> whole grain spaghetti in a light olive oil-lemon sauce with slivers of garlic and grated Parmesan cheese. Yum. There’s not much to this recipe (short ingredient list = thumbs up), but it sure tastes like a fancy meal. Whip it up with a few simple ingredients and enjoy under the stars on a warm spring or summer evening with a crisp wine and salad.

Okay, so here’s what you’ll need:

1 package whole grain spaghetti (or whatever pasta you like)
12 cloves garlic
2 lemons
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley
Salt and pepper

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

First, heat a pot of salted water to boiling. While the water heats, peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves.

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

Zest two lemons.

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

I freshly grated some Parmesan and Pecorino Romano, but feel free to use pre-shredded and pre-grated.

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

Cook the spaghetti according to package directions in the boiling water.

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

While the pasta is cooking, roughly chop a handful of parsley.

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

Before draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

Heat the olive oil in a small saute pan over medium heat. Cook the garlic slivers in the oil for a few minutes until softened.

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

Add the lemon zest to the pan and cook for a couple minutes.

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

Turn the heat down to low and add the fresh lemon juice from one of the lemons.

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

Then add the 1 cup of pasta cooking liquid. Turn the heat back up and bring to a boil, stirring. Cook for a couple minutes.

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

Add the garlic-lemon sauce to the drained spaghetti along with the cheeses and the parsley. Toss everything together. (Use tongs – it’s the easiest way!)

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

The cheese melts into the sauce, making it a little creamy yet very light.

Serve and eat immediately. Because why would you want to wait?

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

So. Darn. Good. And it only costs a few dollars to make. Winning!

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

If you want to add some veggies, I recommend tossing in some sauteed zucchini or summer squash.

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

Nom nom nom. Tastes like summer. It’s almost here, people!

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

garlic lemon parmesan cheese spaghetti pasta, whole grain, light and healthy

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