Creamy Lemon Pasta with Pistachios

Prep Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
25 mins

Like a vegetarian spaghetti carbonara! Meaty pistachios stand in for guanciale, cream amps up the usual eggs and cheese, homemade breadcrumbs add crunch, and a heap of lemon zest brightens up the whole dish.


  • 2 lemons

  • 2 slices white sandwich bread

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

  • 2 large eggs plus 2 large yolks

  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

  • 2 cups finely grated Parmesan (4 ounces), plus more for serving

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

  • 12 ounces spaghetti

  • Chopped pistachios and chives (optional), for serving


  1. Grate 2 1/2 teaspoons zest from lemons, then remove remaining zest in long strips with a vegetable peeler. Slice zest thinly (or remove zest with a channel zester); set aside. Squeeze 2 teaspoons of juice from 1 lemon (reserve rest of this lemon for another use).

  2. In a food processor, pulse bread into very coarse breadcrumbs (you should have 1 cup). Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add breadcrumbs and 1 teaspoon grated zest. Cook, stirring, until crumbs are golden and crisp, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan; let cool completely. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, yolks, cream, cheese, and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons grated zest.

  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water; add pasta to bowl with cheese mixture. Season with a generous amount of pepper and some salt. Use tongs to toss until pasta is fully coated. Add remaining 4 tablespoons butter and lemon juice; toss until a creamy sauce forms. (If necessary, thin with a little pasta water, 1 tablespoon at a time.)

  4. Serve pasta sprinkled with breadcrumbs, pistachios, more cheese, chives, and julienned lemon zest.

    creamy lemon pasta with pistachio
    Johnny Miller
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