Linguine with Lemon, Feta and Basil / Katie Workman / / Photo by Mia

This is one of those super fast pastas that you will be very happy to add to your repertoire, especially as many of us get swallowed up into back-to-school schedules.  You will even have the time to make a green salad, while the water comes to a boil, and prep the rest of the ingredients while the pasta cooks.  All in, you’ve made a complete dinner in less than 1/2 hour. Woo hoo!

Adding Salt to Pasta Water

People often wonder how much to salt the cooking water for pasta.  The answer is probably more than you’d think.  Some chefs says that the water should taste like the sea, which may be a bit extreme, but a solid tablespoon of salt in a large pot of water is not overdoing it.

This Linguine with Lemon, Feta and Basil is one of those great fast and easy pastas that make weeknight dinners happen.

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Lemon Feta Linguine / Katie Workman / / Photo by Mia

The point is that salting the water really can let the salt absorb into the pasta and add flavor while it’s cooking, in a way that adding salt to a pasta dish later in the recipe cannot.  You will probably add more salt as you put together your dish, and make your sauce, but this first salting step is hard to make too much of.

Then, for this recipe, you’ll want to actually be judicious with additional salt.  This is because you will be using some of the salted pasta cooking water to make the sauce, plus you will be adding cheese to the pasta.  Parmesan can be a little salty, and feta certainly as well, so as you toss the pasta with the cooking water, cheeses and other ingredients, taste as you go.  Remind yourself of the golden rule of salt—you can add more later, but you can’t take it out.

Lemon Pasta / Katie Workman / / Photo by Mia

Variations on Linguine with Lemon, Feta and Basil

This pasta is vegetarian but you could definitely add some cooked shrimp or cubes of chicken (sautéed, poached, grilled, whatever you like).  This would be a great way to use up a couple of leftover chicken breasts.  And while linguine is the suggested noodle, and shown in the photo, of course any pasta shape would work.  But every once in awhile, it’s just plain fun to have a pasta that you can twirl – ask any kid.

Other Vegetarian Pasta Recipes

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Linguine with Lemon, Feta and Basil

One of those great fast and easy pastas that make weeknight dinners happen.
Yield: 6 People
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes


  • Kosher salt to taste
  • 1 pound dried linguine
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • ½ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • Toasted pine nuts or pumpkin seeds to serve optional


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, then cook the pasta according to package directions, until al dente. Before draining, remove 1 cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta.
  • Return the pasta to the pot and add the olive oil, Immediately return the pasta to the pot and add the olive oil, Parmesan, lemon zest and juice, basil, about 3/4 of the crumbled feta, and half of the cooking water. Toss to combine, add salt and pepper to taste, and toss again. If it’s a bit dry and can use a touch more salt, and some or all of the remaining cooking water.
  • Turn into a serving bowl and top with the remaining feta, and the pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, if using.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 459.16kcal | Carbohydrates: 57.79g | Protein: 16.45g | Fat: 17.63g | Saturated Fat: 6.56g | Cholesterol: 27.92mg | Sodium: 417.3mg | Potassium: 197.65mg | Fiber: 2.42g | Sugar: 3.11g | Vitamin A: 276.08IU | Vitamin C: 0.36mg | Calcium: 241.33mg | Iron: 1.33mg

The nutrition values are provided as an estimate. It is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a qualified healthcare professional.

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