• Yield: Serves 6

Rose and I took a trip to the Amalfi Coast in 1998 where practically everything we ate included lemon. This recipe comes from a small trattoria outside of Positano, and we brought it back with us to London. We only make this in the summer when the basil is sun-drenched and the Amalfi lemons are fresh and ripe. It is incredibly easy to make but be sure to cook the spaghetti al dente and follow the quantities in the recipe, as the flavors need to be balanced correctly.


  • 1/2 pound (250g) spaghetti

  • 3/4 cup juice of lemons, preferably Amalfi lemons

  • 2/3 cup (150ml) olive oil

  • 5 ounces (140g) Parmesan, freshly grated

  • 2 handfuls of fresh basil, leaves picked and finely chopped finely grated lemon zest (optional)

Daisy Cakes Bakes book cover River Cafe London by Ruth Rogers, Sian Wyn Owen, Joseph Trivelli and Rose Gray


Cook the spaghetti in a generous amount of boiling salted water, then drain thoroughly and return to the pot.

Meanwhile, whisk the lemon juice with the olive oil, then stir in the Parmesan – it will melt into the mixture, making it thick and creamy. Season with sea salt and black pepper and add more lemon juice to taste.

Add the sauce to the spaghetti and shake the pot so that each strand of pasta is coated with the cheese. Finally, stir in the chopped basil and, ideally, some grated lemon zest.

Recipe reprinted with permission from River Cafe London: Thirty Years of Recipes and the Story of a Much-Loved Restaurant by Ruth Rogers, Sian Wyn Owen, Joseph Trivelli and Rose Gray. Copyright 2018 Knopf.