Lemony White Wine Capellini

Lemony White Wine Capellini / loveandlemons.com

This recipe describes how I like my holidays: simple and with wine. I don’t get too wrapped up in holiday craziness – I don’t fight crowds at the mall, I don’t bake ten million cookies, and I don’t cook a christmas ham (is that what people still do?). But I do enjoy making easy elegant dinners like this one. This pasta is bright and merry, with squeezes of lemon and splashes of Barefoot Pinot Grigio.

Lemony White Wine Capellini / loveandlemons.com

The recipe starts with a very light lemony white wine sauce made with olive oil, shallots and garlic. Then, I toss in a few handfuls of spinach before tossing everything with the pasta.

Finally, I toast pine nuts, rosemary, and breadcrumbs for texture and add a few red pepper flakes for kick. This is a simple recipe that’s a bit of a blank canvas. Feel free to customize this however you like –  it would be yummy with other vegetables such as mushrooms, kale or swiss chard. And if you’re not vegetarian, seafood would be delicious in here as well.

Lemony White Wine Capellini / loveandlemons.com

Serve with fresh parsley, parmesan cheese (optional), and a few glasses of wine (not optional). Cheers!

Lemony White Wine Capellini / loveandlemons.com

5.0 from 5 reviews
Lemony White Wine Capellini
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Main dish
Serves: serves 2-3
  • 8-ounces brown rice capellini pasta, plus reserved pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced (about ⅓ cup)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed, but still whole
  • ¼ cup Barefoot Pinot Grigio
  • juice and zest of ½ lemon, more to taste
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • ¼ cup chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, optional
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
toasted pine nut topping (optional):
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons panko bread crumbs (*see note)
  • 1 teaspoon minced rosemary
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • pinch of sea salt
  1. Make the topping (optional): In a small skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts, panko, rosemary, red pepper flakes and salt. Set aside.
  2. Prepare a large pot of salted boiling water. Wait to drop the pasta into the water until after you’ve cooked the shallot in the next step below. At that point, cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente, then scoop it out of the water directly into the sauce when indicated. Reserve the pasta water.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the shallot and a pinch of salt and cook until soft, about 6 minutes, adding the crushed garlic cloves halfway through. Add the wine, stir, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice. Remove the garlic cloves and discard.
  4. Reduce the heat to low, stir in the spinach, then scoop the pasta into the pan. Toss until the spinach is wilted. Stir in ¼ cup of the reserved pasta water to loosen the pasta in the pan. Add more water if needed.
  5. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in half of the toasted pine nut topping, the lemon zest, parsley, and parmesan cheese, if using. Season with salt, pepper, and more lemon to taste. Divide the pasta into bowls and top each with the remaining toasted pine nut topping.
*For vegan, skip the cheese. For gluten-free, use gf panko or skip.
For a richer sauce, add a pat of butter or a bit of cream after stirring in the wine.

This post is in partnership with Barefoot Wine. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that keep us cooking!

If you make this, let us see! Tag your photo with #loveandlemons on Instagram.


  1. Stephanie from aneducationindomestication.com on said:

    This looks delicious and I love how easy it is for this time of the year!

  2. Sandra from poshnessary.com on said:

    Looks amazing. Have to try this!

  3. Tasha from tashaskitchen.co.uk on said:

    Looks like a great recipe, and I’ve already got most of the ingredients in my kitchen. Think I know what I’ll be having for supper tonight. Thanks :)

  4. Maya on said:

    Do you have a brand of rice pasta you prefer?

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      I like Jovial and Tinkyada..

  5. Clarisa from soshecooks.com on said:

    Ok, I think I need to make this ASAP!
    It looks amazing and so easy.

  6. Toshi Bakes from bit.ly on said:

    I love the simplicity of this dish, I would definitely add some chicken to bulk it up a bit though :) Can’t wait to try this out for lunch


  7. I’m right there with you on avoiding the holiday craziness and cooking less traditional , simple but elegant meals. Love this pasta dish, I think it will have to be added to the holiday menu!

  8. I totally agree with you. I do not step foot in the mall all season long and most of my shopping is done online or at local small businesses. Who has the patience to bake dozens of cookies? Not me haha. I love this simple dish – sounds comforting!

  9. I’ve been craving something like this. I love light lemony pasta as a way to transition out of heavy winter foods into spring!

  10. Gaby Dalkin from whatsgabycooking.com on said:

    I’m all about the simple pasta recipes that pack a punch of goodness!

  11. Kathryn Grace from yayyayskitchen.com on said:

    Totally looking forward to trying this recipe this weekend when our grandchildren are here. I know they’ll love it, and so will the grownups! It’s my pick today for Recipe of the Day on Cooking with Whole Grains & Real Foods on Facebook.

  12. Rabecca from midnightburnout.com on said:

    Oh yum! I love this recipe so much, tried it and it actually came out really good. Absolutely delish! <3

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      so glad! Thanks for sharing!!

  13. Gaby Dalkin from whatsgabycooking.com on said:

    light and fresh! this is perfect to counterbalance heavy eating days

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      thanks Gaby!

  14. Jenny from bakealicious.ie on said:

    This is perfect – I’ve been trying to fit more spinach into my diet! I know it’s good for me, but I just can’t stand eating it in a salad. This is a nice compromise :)

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  16. beth b from prettybyrddesigns.blogspot.com on said:

    I made this dish for dinner last evening for my husband and myself. It was fantastic. I had (the little bit) of leftovers for lunch. The flavor was even better. It has such a light and fresh flavor! Thank you!

    • jeanine from loveandlemons.com on said:

      Hi Beth – I’m so glad you liked it, thanks for letting me know!

  17. Cynthia Romano on said:

    just made this recipe this evening, love lemons, love spinach, I knew it would be delicious I’m not on instagram and have no knowledge of the site so my apologies to not letting everyone see how beautiful this meal looked on my stove top.
    Let me say though it was quite delicious , more so than I thought. I have been cooking for many many years and could never understand why we blanche or cook spinach then combine, so the point is ……thank you for such a wonderful recipe to produce for my family but also for being so brave and adding fresh spinach straight into the pasta and letting it wilt all on its own. You have a scrumptious site….thank you we all need recipes like this. Good luck in all your endeavors :)

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