Lemon Fusilli Pasta- My go to Summer Pasta

As summer comes to a close I decided to post this recipe before everyone starts making apple cider and planning their Halloween costumes. My friend just asked for the recipe because I made it for her family after her new baby was born. I love anything with lemon and this dish has fresh lemon juice, lemon zest, and lemon slices! The pasta looks vibrant and tastes like summer in your mouth. It gets better as it sits, so you can transport it to a cookout at a friend’s house. This recipe is why I love Barefoot Contessa’s food- it’s easy to make and so flavorful. The recipe  can be found in her At Home cookbook, which I highly recommend.

I have had an extremely hard year because when I was eight months pregnant, I had a stroke. Crazy right? I lost sensation and fine motor skills in my left hand and battled through delivering a baby, therapy, and trying to care for my 14 month old. Not a season of life I wish to relive. Thankfully I had tons of friends and family helping and praying for me. On days when I had small spurts of energy, I would try to get back in the kitchen and cook.  I remember my first time back in the kitchen I made banana bread with chocolate chips for my brother’s wife. At the time it felt like a huge triumph. The lemon fusilli was the first dinner I made for my family after the stroke. My husband cut the grape tomatoes though so I wouldn’t lose a finger on my left hand! So this dish is memorable because to me it signifies starting a road to recovery.


1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (2 cloves)
2 cups heavy cream
3 lemons
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound dried fusilli pasta
1/2 pound baby arugula (or 2 bunches of common arugula, leaves cut in thirds)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved


Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the garlic, and cook for 60 seconds. Add the cream, the zest from 2 lemons, the juice of 2 lemons, 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, until it starts to thicken.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the package, about 12 minutes, stirring occasionally. Drain the pasta in a colander and place it back into the pot. Immediately add the cream mixture and cook it over medium-low heat for 3 minutes, until most of the sauce has been absorbed in the pasta. Pour the hot pasta into a large bowl, add the arugula, Parmesan, tomatoes, and cooked broccoli. Cut the last lemon in half lengthwise, slice it 1/4-inch thick crosswise, and add it to the pasta. Toss well, season to taste, and serve hot.


A picture of the Lemon Fusilli from the first day I made dinner after my stroke.

A picture of the Lemon Fusilli from the first day I made dinner after my stroke.

A picture of Georgia from the same week. She is about 6 weeks here.

A picture of Georgia from the same week. She is about 6 weeks here.

Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

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  199. Meg Reply

    Thank you for posting this recipe! It was delicious (hot) the first night and the next day (cold) for lunch. I can’t wait to make it myself!! Loving your blog, by the way!

    • katie Reply

      Thanks Meg! You will end up making it over and over. Thanks for reading the blog!