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The butteriest, lemoniest, easiest weekend pasta sauce

Brown butter is culinary magic.

In case you are unfamiliar with it, brown butter is basically melted butter with caramelized milk solids, which rework melted butter from a typical popcorn topping into one thing extra crave-able and decadent. Starring in the whole lot from cookies and cake to popcorn and pasta, it is one of many meals world’s most beloved elements.

Like butter, toasted nuts, brown butter has an uncanny capacity to the touch on practically each foundational taste. It not solely embraces umami at its finest but in addition elevates something it touches within the kitchen. Even higher, it comes collectively very quickly in any respect—and with nothing greater than a stick of butter and a bread.

As a result of it truly is that simple to up your property cooking recreation with brown butter, you have possible heard me sing its praises earlier than, so I am not right here to debate extra of the identical. At the moment, I will share one thing solely new: a super-quick, über-easy method to improve easy pasta dishes.

Are you able to pair that nutty, virtually hazelnut-y essence with each paste and cheese? I dare you to withstand (as a result of it is probably not doable).

On this weeknight-friendly dish, I’ve taken the requisite pasta for teenagers (or youngsters at coronary heart) who’re tomato-averse aka pasta with cheese and butter. Anchored by brown butter, this recipe soars, taking these normal but dependable parts to new heights by not solely gussying up the ingredient record but in addition including a bit extra time and warmth.

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Recently, I’ve discovered {that a} easy brown butter and sage sauce is a bit unfastened, skinny and unexciting by itself. Consequently, I’ve bulked it up a bit with Higher than Bouillon or broth, plus cream and garlic. This transforms the style from nutty to creamy, sturdy and spherical. The elevated taste not solely ensures one other chew but in addition morphs the browned butter right into a full-fledged sauce that may stand as much as any pasta.

The opposite cool half about this dish is that: 1) it legitimately comes collectively in lower than half-hour; 2) you’d spend greater than $20 on it at a restaurant (it tastes that refined); 3) it requires hardly any effort, minus slightly little bit of persistence.

Stated persistence comes largely within the type of remark: Brown butter can go from appetizing and aromatic to unappealing and downright burnt within the blink of a watch. Do not let your eyes wander from the range as you regularly stir the butter or swirl the breadguaranteeing that these brown bits do not turn into burnt specks ominously floating in your “liquid gold.”

Bucatini with Spinach, Brown Butter Cream and Toasted Hazelnuts


  • kosher salt
  • 1 pound bucatini
  • 1 stick high-quality, unsalted butter
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons Higher than Bouillon (See Cook dinner’s Notes)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, grated on a microplane or finely minced
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted till aromatic (See Cook dinner’s Notes)
  • 1 to 2 lemons, juiced and zested
  • 1/2 cup spinach
  • Chives, finely chopped, for garnish
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, for topping


  1. Deliver a big pot of water to a boil. As soon as it is at a rolling boil, add salt and the bucatini and prepare dinner in keeping with package deal instructions. Reserve about 1/2 cup of starchy cooking water earlier than draining. Don’t rinse or chilly shock.
  2. In a big pan or skillet, soften the butter. Swirl the pan or stir persistently, noting that the aroma adjustments from pure butter to a heat, toasted nut-type perfume. Take the brown butter as toasty as you want. (When you add the opposite elements, the butter will not brown any additional, so be sure you brown it to its fullest extent now.)
  3. Add the garlic and let toast 30 seconds.
  4. Add a teaspoon or two of Higher than Bouillon, plus a cup of water and the starchy cooking water. Cook dinner till the liquid reduces by about half.
  5. Add the heavy cream and cut back by one other half. Proceed to stir or swirl, retaining the warmth over low.
  6. Add the lemon juice and half the zest. Proceed to prepare dinner (over low warmth) till the sauce is completely nappe and coats the again of your spoon.
  7. Add the spinach and let wilt, a few minute or so.
  8. Add the drained pasta to the pan with brown butter sauce, toss effectively and prepare dinner for a few minute.
  9. Plate the pasta, spoon over a bit extra sauce and garnish with roughly chopped hazelnuts, the remaining lemon zest, chives and grated cheese.

Cook dinner’s Notes

– If you haven’t any Higher than Bouillon useful, you may substitute 1 to 2 cups of broth, inventory or just water.

-Nut allergy symptoms? Go for buttered, toasted bread crumbs as an alternative.

– I am not a fan of black pepper, which I take advantage of (very) sparingly, however some individuals discover black pepper to be a necessity in a non-tomato paste sauce. I might advise you towards getting too reckless with that peppermill, although—or your creamy, buttery pasta dish would possibly turn into a bit acrid or overly sharp.

– Preserve the warmth low: For those who increase the temperature above medium or so, the sauce might “break.” Particularly, the emulsification might break, turning a clean, creamy sauce into an unappealing division of fats and acid with nothing tying it collectively.

– It is a sauce that might be terrific with some dry white wine as a spine. For those who’re trying to incorporate additional taste, add the wine on to the brown butter and garlic earlier than including anything, then cut back till the bread is sort of dry and add the opposite elements from there.

– Wanting so as to add protein? Pancetta, crumbled sausage or floor vegan protein would all be stellar choices right here.

– Different potential elements to include? Cherry, grape or sun-dried tomatoes, varied toasted nuts, crimson pepper flakes or — after all! —sage (or any related herb).

– If you do not have (or like) bucatini, different nice pasta choices can be selfmade or store-bought stuffed pasta (agnolotti, ravioli, stuffed rigatoni, stuffed shells), in addition to brief pasta (paccheri, penne, rigatoni, ziti). You possibly can all the time go for “ribbon” pasta, too (fettuccine, pappardelle, tagliatelle). The journey is as much as you — in any case, it is your kitchen.

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