This creamy lemon arugula sauce is perfect for a wider pasta, like fettuccine or pappardelle. Best of all, it’s easy as anything to make.
This creamy lemon arugula sauce is the perfect way to clean out the fridge and still make a gorgeous dish that tastes great. All you need is aromatics, flour, and milk to make a simple roux. Add in some arugula and cooked pasta and baby, you’ve got pasta for the night in just about 30–40 minutes.
For this pasta, I used lemon-flavored fettuccine (you can grab a box from the shop!). Though any pasta will work well in this sauce, the lemon fettuccine just added even more bright undertones that paired well with the cream sauce. Best of all, it cooks up in about 3–4 minutes!
How to make this creamy lemon arugula sauce:
Making this recipe is a breeze. Start with aromatics. I used shallot and celery leaves, but garlic, onion, and even a red Fresno chili pepper would do wonders here.
From there, make a roux. You can melt butter into the pot, but after all my Thanksgiving cooking madness, I had not one pat of butter to spare, so I just sizzled the flour in extra virgin olive oil until nutty and aromatic.
From there, simply whisk in whole milk and then simmer until thickened to your liking. Throw in parsley and more lemon juice and then toss with cooked pasta.
To add a bit of autumnal magic to this dish, I roasted up a delicata squash as the sauce simmered and served the squash on the pasta. The sweetness paired really, really well with the lemony sauce.
This is not a particularly fancy meal, but when you need comfort QUICK, this is the place to start.
Looking for more pasta recipes? Check my archives!
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Creamy Lemon Arugula Sauce
- Wide pot
- Large pot
- 8.8 ounces lemon fettuccine
- 1 small delicata squash seeds removed, and squash sliced into half-moons
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2 shallots peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons celery leaves minced or use 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 heaping tablespoon flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup fresh parsley minced, plus more for serving if you like
- 2 ounces fresh arugula
- ½ lemon juiced
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Cook the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and reserve 1/2 cup pasta water. Drain and set the pasta aside. Note: Try to time this so that the pasta finishes cooking right as the sauce is done.
Roast the squash:
- Arrange the squash slices on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast for 20–25 minutes until golden-brown all over. Turn off the oven and keep the squash warm.
Start the sauce:
- Heat 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the shallot and cook for 5 minutes, often stirring, until softened.
- Add the celery leaves or garlic and cook for 45 seconds until fragrant—season with salt.
Prepare the roux:
- Add the remaining 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (or use 1 tablespoon butter). Add the flour and cook, sizzling it in the oil and stirring until nutty and aromatic.
- Add in half a cup of milk and constantly whisk until a slurry forms.
- Continue adding milk in half cup increments until all of the milk is incorporated. Whisk after each addition. Bring to a very low boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, occasionally stirring, until the sauce is thickened to your liking—taste and season with salt and pepper.
Finish the sauce:
- Add the arugula and cook until wilted. Add the parsley and lemon juice and cook for 1 minute more—taste and season once more to your preferences. Reduce heat to low.
- Sauce the pasta:
- Add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water along with the cooked pasta and toss to coat. If needed, add a splash of the pasta water until the sauce is glossy and completely coats the pasta. Turn off the heat.
- Divide the pasta between plates and arrange the roasted squash on top. Garnish with more parsley, if you like. Enjoy!