Nutty brown butter, grated Parmesan cheese, and pasta water mingle with al dente spaghetti to create pure magic. Best of all, this dish is ready in a matter of minutes.
4tablespoonsbutterI use unsalted, but salted is also fine
1/2pound8 ounces spaghetti noodles
1/4cuppasta water + more if necessarydon't throw it out!
1/3cupgrated Parmesan cheese+ more for topping if desired
Freshly ground black pepper
Recommendedbut optional toppings for a little variation: fresh chopped basil, cooked chopped bacon, halved cherry tomatoes
Recommended (but optional!) toppings:
Fresh chopped basil
Cooked chopped baconfor the meat-eaters
Halved cherry tomatoes
In a small, thick-bottomed pan over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Continue cooking the butter over medium heat, whisking frequently, until the foam subsides and the butter begins to turn brown and smell nutty, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and set aside. Note: It is really easy to burn brown butter, so watch it carefully. It turns brown really fast (and can also burn really fast!)
Meanwhile, set a large pot of water to boil. Cook the pasta to al dente per package instructions.
Using tongs, lift the cooked spaghetti noodles out of the water and place in a large pasta bowl. You can drain the noodles in a colander, too, but remember to reserve some of the pasta water! It's crucial for this recipe.
Pour the browned butter and 1/4 cup of the pasta water over the noodles. Sprinkle with Parmesan and add a few turns of freshly ground black pepper. Using the tongs, toss well until all ingredients are incorporated and have mixed to coat the noodles with an almost creamy sauce. Add more pasta water - a couple of tablespoons at a time - if necessary to achieve this.
Top with additional Parmesan cheese if desired. Serve immediately. Top individual portions with basil, bacon, or cherry tomatoes, if desired.