This is an easy Garlic Butter Pasta recipe with the most delicious browned butter garlic sauce! You can serve the pasta as is or dress it up with chicken, vegetables, or seafood for a dinner that looks fancy but isn’t hard to make.
I love easy dinner recipes, and if they are versatile, I love them even more. This garlic butter pasta meets both of those things – it’s easy to make with just a handful of ingredients, and you can easily switch it up to create several different dinners. It’s a win-win.
Garlic and butter are just meant to go together, but this recipe takes it one step further with browned butter. If you’ve never tried it, you are in for a treat – it’s a really simple way to elevate a dish and give it more flavor without a lot of work.
Garlic Butter Sauce for Pasta
The difference between making plain melted butter and browned butter is just a few minutes. When you allow butter to cook and brown, it develops a rich and nutty flavor. It adds so much flavor to this pasta dish.
So, it might look and sound fancy, but it really isn’t. While the pasta is boiling, you can make the sauce and then just toss everything together. It’s a simple recipe that is ready to serve in less than 30 minutes.
Hot pasta is tossed in the brown butter sauce along with garlic, grated cheese, and fresh parsley. It’s delicious served just as it is, but I’m also sharing a few ways to switch it up. Once you learn how to make garlic butter sauce for pasta, you’ll see there are a lot of possibilities for using it.
- Unsalted butter
- Minced garlic
- Ground pepper
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Chopped parsley
How to Make Garlic Butter Pasta
Boil the pasta and reserve one cup of the pasta water before draining.
Melt the butter with the pepper in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and whisk continuously while cooking it in the butter.
Continue to cook the butter. It will start to boil and then foam before it starts to brown. Once it turns golden, remove it from the heat.
Add the pasta and half of the cheese and toss to combine. Add a little of the pasta water to create the sauce – you won’t need all of it, so just add it in small amounts until the sauce has your desired consistency.
Salt the pasta to your taste and garnish with the chopped parsley.
Recipe Tips and Tricks
I think this recipe works best with a long pasta shape like linguini. Or, you can try spaghetti, fettuccine, bucatini, or even angel hair pasta. Because the sauce is thin, it works better with thinner pasta, but feel free to experiment with other shapes, too.
If you want to add a vegetable, mushrooms work really well in this dish. You can sauté them first in some butter and once they’re cooked, take them out. Make the sauce in the same pan as instructed, and then add the cooked mushrooms when you add the pasta to the sauce.
I’ve made this recipe with clams and clam juice, too, and it’s delicious. If clams aren’t your thing, try adding cooked shrimp or diced cooked chicken for some extra protein.
You can also switch up the herbs. Instead of parsley, try chopped fresh basil or chives. Or do a combination of fresh herbs. When you add them to the hot pasta and sauce, they release their aroma and add a freshness that pairs well with the rich sauce.
This garlic butter pasta is best served hot from the pan. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator, but the pasta will absorb the sauce. You can add a little more melted butter when you reheat it to revive it.
Add a crisp green salad and some crusty bread on the side to make it a complete meal. It will taste like a dinner you can get at a fancy restaurant!
We love this butter and garlic pasta – it’s so easy but tastes like it took a lot more work. I hope you give it a try!
Other Pasta Dishes You'll Enjoy
Garlic Butter Pasta Recipe
- 8 ounces linguini
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter do not use salted butter.
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese divided
- Salt to taste
- Parsley leaves chopped for garnish
- Cook pasta according to package instructions in a large pot. Salt the water. Once pasta is done, drain using a cullender but save a cup of pasta water.
- In a medium saucepan add butter and pepper over medium low heat until butter has melted. Add garlic and stir or whisk often. The butter melts, then boils, then starts to foam and will start to turn brown. It goes from browned to burnt pretty quickly so be careful.
- Remove from the heat and add the pasta and half of the parmesan cheese and combine thoroughly. Add small amounts of pasta water and mix. You probably won’t need the whole cup to get the desired sauce texture. Add salt to taste and serve. Add parsley for garnish
- This pasta can go in many directions. Add mushrooms for more texture, Clam juice and clams would be excellent. Chicken would go very well with this.
- You can use any pasta you want. Pick your favorite and have fun.
We just love this Garlic Butter Pasta recipe. It’s so easy to make and tastes like it takes a lot more work than it really does!
Mel is an IT guy turned blogger and is discovering his love of cooking and photography. If you ever have Fantasy Football questions, he's your guy.