This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Cacio e Pepe and Pasta al Limone meet Carbonara in this delicious Creamy Linguine with Lemon and Pancetta! 

Creamy Linguine with Lemon and Pancetta

This one is for all of my pasta lovers out there. This pasta is the warmest bowl of bright, creamy goodness and one of my absolute favorite pasta recipes EVER. It is so simple in both flavor and execution, which, in my opinion, makes for the best pasta recipes.

What You’ll Need:

  • Linguine (Sub Spaghetti or Bucatini)
  • Pancetta
  • Garlic and Shallot
  • Lemon Zest and Juice
  • Heavy Cream
  • Pecorino Cheese
  • Salt, Black Pepper, Red Pepper Flakes

Creamy Linguine with Lemon and Pancetta

While your pasta cooks, you’ll make your simple, yet delectable sauce. You’ll start by sauteing the pancetta until nice and crisp then adding the garlic, shallot, and red pepper flakes for a flavorful base to your sauce. This can burn easily so be sure to keep a close eye on your pan and adjust your heat as needed! 

Next, you’ll add the heavy cream, lemon zest for a boost of brightness, and black pepper. Your pasta should be done right about now, so you will first reserve a 1/2 cup of pasta water then drain off the pasta. This step is very important as the starchy pasta water will help finish the sauce so it is the perfect consistency to coat your pasta! 

Creamy Linguine with Lemon and Pancetta

Add your cooked pasta, pecorino, and lemon juice, and toss to combine. Add half of the reserved pasta and toss until the pecorino is melted and the pasta begins to look glossy and coated. If your sauce is not coming together quite yet, add the remaining 1/4 cup of reserved pasta water. Then there you have it, Creamy Linguine with Lemon and Pancetta!

Creamy Linguine with Lemon and Pancetta

I like to top mine with additional pecorino and, of course, more red pepper flakes! I know y’all are going to absolutely love this pasta and I cannot wait to see your creations in your own kitchens.

Creamy Linguine with Lemon and Pancetta
5 from 3 votes

Creamy Linguine with Lemon and Pancetta

Total: 25 minutes
Servings: 2


  • 8- ounces linguine (sub gluten-free pasta for gluten -free)
  • 4 ounces diced pancetta
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 medium shallot diced small
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus more for serving
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • Zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup grated pecorino cheese
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice or 1 lemon
  • Kosher salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)


  • Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and a heavy pinch of salt and cook al dente according to package instructions.
  • Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add the pancetta and cook, tossing occasionally, until the fat begins to render and it becomes slightly crispy, about 4 minutes.
  • Add the garlic, shallot, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, being careful not to burn, about 2 minutes.
  • Add in the heavy cream, the lemon zest, and black pepper and stir to combine.
  • When the pasta is done cooking, reserve about ½ cup pasta water. Drain the pasta and add to the skillet and toss in the sauce. Add the pecorino, lemon juice, and a pinch of kosher salt.
  • Pour in about ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water and toss so that the pecorino melts and that the linguine is glossy and well coated in the sauce. If your sauce seems too thick and the pasta isn’t glossy, add the remaining ¼ cup of pasta water and continue to toss until well coated. Remove from the heat, taste, and add more salt, to taste.
  • Serve with a sprinkle of pecorino and a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, if desired.

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Servings: 2


Food Photography and Styling by Eat Love Eats. 


Welcome! I’m Alex.

I’m a food lover sharing healthy, simple, delicious, recipes from my kitchen to yours. Here you’ll find lots of Whole30, lots of healthy, and a little indulgence here and there because…it’s all about balance y’all!

Similar recipes

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Yum!! Just yum!! So easy AND sooo good! Everyone needs to try this, can be for a quick weeknight meal or a special date night meal paired with a great wine, it’s that good and that easy❤️

    1. Hi emily– you could potentially swap that in for just the heavy cream- but just keep in mind that the parmesan thickens it, too and adds a salty, nutty flavor. It will definitely change the consistency + overall taste of the dish.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this after my little ones went to bed and it came together quite quickly. This was an indulgent meal and is perfect for when you want the out to dinner feeling at home. Thanks, Alex! You’re killing it lately!

  3. I made this tonight and it was so good!! The flavors are rich of course but the lemon cuts it really nicely. I feel like this is very impressive and restaurant quality while also being so fast and easy! The ingredients are also not too expensive so it’s actually pretty budget friendly while still feeling elevated. A winner for sure!

  4. 5 stars
    Absolutely in love with this dish! The definition of Cacio e Pepe and Pasta al Limone meet Carbonara is spot on & for some reason this dish makes me nostalgic (which I love). This meal was super quick to make & will definitely be in our pasta rotation!