Pasta Magnifico (Linguine in Citrus Cream Sauce)

Pasta Magnifico is everything you never knew you needed in a pasta dish. It’s a creamy, dreamy bowl of comfort with a zesty citrus twist that makes you say ‘wow’ with every bite. It’s the ultimate pasta upgrade – fancy enough for a dinner party, easy enough for a weeknight. Total win.

Pasta magnifico - linguine tossed in a citrus cream sauce - on a white plate with fresh flowers for garnish.

Why you’re going to love Pasta Magnifico:


  • Oh-So-Creamy Goodness: It’s all about that velvety, melt-in-your-mouth sauce that takes ‘creamy’ to a whole new level.
  • Unique Citrus Twist: The unexpected pop of lemon and orange zest brings a bright, sunny vibe that’s totally refreshing.
  • Fancy, Yet Easy: This dish has that fancy-restaurant flair but is super doable at home, making it perfect for impressing guests or treating yourself.

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Linguine noodles in a creamy citrus sauce on a white plate with fresh orange and red flowers as a presentation garnish.

What is Pasta Magnifico?

When my sister and her family came back from visiting Italy this summer they raved about this creamy citrus pasta dish they enjoyed at the famed Trattoria Garga in Florence. Their description literally made my mouth water.

After a little research, I discovered that the restaurant is quite well known for the dish which they call “Pasta Magnifico”, named after the famous Florentine ruler Lorenzo “il Magnifico” Medici (Lorenzo the Magnificent).

Pasta Magnifico is made with just a handful of ingredients: fresh linguine noodles with orange and lemon zest, mint, and Parmigiano in a brandy cream sauce. So simple, yet so delicious. I hope you enjoy our version as much as my family and I do!

If you love rich and indulgent pasta dishes like this citrus cream pasta, be sure to give our Creamy Rainbow Vegetable Pasta or our Ricotta Pesto Pasta with Peas and Artichokes a try!

Pasta Magnifico Ingredients

Ingredients for pasta magnifico laid out in small white bowls on a gray countertop.

Seasonal Produce Spotlight: Citrus season is currently in full swing here in North America, and it’s the perfect time to celebrate these juicy, vibrant fruits. During these cooler months, oranges and lemons are at their peak, offering the best in flavor and nutrition. So, make the most of these citrus treasures and bring a dose of sun-kissed warmth to your winter days.

Recipe Roadmap with Images

1

Cook the pasta

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil (proceed to step 2 while waiting for the water to boil). Cook the fresh linguine noodles for 2 minutes.

2

make the sauce

Combine the cream, Cognac, orange zest, and lemon zest in a small pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.

3

Add FRESH mint

Turn off the heat and stir in the chopped mint leaves.

4

Toss with Sauce

Toss the hot, lightly drained pasta with the citrus cream sauce and the parmesan cheese.

5

FINish the Dish

Plate and serve the pasta immediately. Sprinkle with a little extra zest and mint if desired.

Be sure to scroll down to check out the full recipe and ingredient list below.

Pro Recipe Tips

  • I prefer to use fresh linguine or fettucine noodles for this recipe but you can certainly substitute dried pasta. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time. You can find fresh pasta in the refrigerated section of the grocery store.
  • For a lighter sauce, substitute half-and-half for 1 cup of the cream.
  • Keep a close eye on the sauce and lower the heat if it starts to boil. You want it to gently simmer.
  • If there is not enough sauce or the noodles are too sticky, stir in a little more cream or some half-and-half for a lighter consistency. Hot water (pasta cooking water) also works well.
  • I recommend using a high quality parmesan cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano for the best, most authentic flavor.
  • If you don’t have Cognac, you can use another type of brandy or a sherry as a substitute. Or you can just leave it out.
  • It is highly recommended that your serve the dish immediately upon cooking as the sauce will start to congeal as it cools.
  • I wouldn’t recommend keeping leftovers as the texture and consistency will just not be the same upon reheating.
Close up shot of pasta magnifico on a round white plate with citrus zest and fresh mint garnish.

What to Serve with Pasta Magnifico

Pasta Magnifico, with its rich and creamy citrus-infused sauce, pairs well with a variety of dishes. Consider these options:

  • Light Salads: A fresh, crisp salad with a tangy dressing can cut through the creaminess of the pasta. Try pairing this pasta our spinach and arugula salad with shaved parmesan, our spinach gorgonzola salad, or our simple strawberry spring salad.
  • Roasted or Grilled Vegetables: Vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, and zucchini add a healthy balance. Try our charred broccolini or roasted asparagus and carrots for a delicious pairing.
  • Lean Proteins: Grilled chicken, shrimp, or scallops offer a protein boost without adding heaviness.
  • Crusty Bread: To soak up the sauce and add a contrasting texture.
  • Simple Desserts: Light desserts such as fruit sorbets, fruit salad, or panna cotta work well after a rich meal.

Pasta Magnifico (Linguine in Citrus Cream Sauce)

Pasta Magnifico is everything you never knew you needed in a pasta dish. It’s a creamy, dreamy bowl of comfort with a zesty citrus twist that makes you say ‘wow’ with every bite. It’s the ultimate pasta upgrade – fancy enough for a dinner party, easy enough for a weeknight. Total win.
By: AllieAllie Cleveland
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 444 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 16 oz fresh linguine noodles
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 lemons zested
  • 2 navel oranges zested
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 1 oz Cognac (or other brandy)
  • ¼ cup fresh mint leaves chopped

Instructions
 

  • Fill a large pot with 3 quarts of water and bring to a boil. While waiting for water to boil, prepare the sauce.
  • Combine the cream, Cognac, orange zest, and lemon zest in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat, then turn down to low heat and continue to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir the sauce frequently with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the mint leaves.
  • When the water is boiling, add 1 tablespoon kosher salt and cook the pasta until al dente (about 2 minutes for fresh pasta).
  • Lightly drain and toss the hot pasta with the citrus cream sauce and parmesan cheese until well combined.
  • Transfer to serving dish or dinner plates and serve immediately. Garnish with extra citrus zest and mint if desired.

Recipe Notes

  • I prefer to use fresh linguine or fettucine noodles for this recipe but you can certainly substitute dried pasta. Just make sure to adjust the cooking time. You can find fresh pasta in the refrigerated section of grocery stores.
  • For a lighter sauce, substitute half-and-half for 1 cup of the cream.
  • Keep a close eye on the sauce and lower the heat if it starts to boil. You want it to gently simmer.
  • If there is not enough sauce or the noodles are too sticky, stir in a little more cream or some half-and-half for a lighter consistency. Hot water (pasta cooking water) also works well.
  • I recommend using a high quality parmesan cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano for the best, most authentic flavor.
  • If you don’t have Cognac, you can use another type of brandy or a sherry as a substitute. Or you can just leave it out.
  • It is highly recommended that your serve the dish immediately upon cooking as the sauce will quickly start to congeal as it cools.
  • I wouldn’t recommend keeping leftovers as the texture and consistency will just not be the same upon reheating.
 

Nutrition

Calories: 444kcal | Carbohydrates: 22.6g | Protein: 10.8g | Fat: 33.8g | Saturated Fat: 20.9g | Cholesterol: 121.2mg | Sodium: 569.1mg | Fiber: 1.3g | Sugar: 2.7g

*Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Maplevine Kitchen makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.

Keyword pasta, pasta sauce
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