Brown Butter Tomato Basil Spaghetti

Food trends kind of make me laugh a little. Once a certain ingredient or method becomes popular, you see it absolutely everywhere. There’s really no escaping. It’s used in every preparation, in almost every dish. Eventually, people become disillusioned over said food trend and it starts to fade out. Then it disappears all together until one courageous person decides to incorporate it ever so slightly and it is once again a respected ingredient.

That’s sort of how I feel about brown butter. Let’s be completely honest, it’s obviously worth all the hype. But for the longest time, brown butter was everywhere. In ice cream, in krispy treats, in main course. Just about everywhere you turned, brown butter was there. And it was good. So good. But over time, brown butter was used so frequently, it became like an overplayed Will Smith song on 90s radio. It sort of faded out a little, taking a back seat to things like Biscoff or bacon. And now, people use it less frequently and it is welcomed with open arms when in moderation.

That being said, I do love brown butter. I think it really adds something, a depth of flavor, to whatever you are cooking. In some cases, chocolate chip cookies, the taste is slight. It’s just enough for you to know there is something special there, something different. In this pasta, it is one of the foremost ingredients. The slightly nutty, smooth flavor is right in the front, mixing it up with tomatoes and basil. It’s really key to this dish.

Full disclosure: I used 4 tablespoons of butter in my original recipe but recommend cutting that down to 2 1/2 or 3. 4 was good but made the whole thing a bit heavy. If you are into eating heavily or happen to make this in the winter months, go for 4. But summer probably calls for something a bit lighter and 2 1/2 should be sufficient.

Brown Butter Tomato Basil Spaghetti
Recipe type: dinner, pasta, vegetarian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 2

  • ½ pound spaghetti
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes, chopped roughly
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 4 to 6 leaves fresh basil, chopped

  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions. While the pasta cooks, heat the brown butter in a skillet over medium heat. Allow it to brown. This should take approximately five minutes. The butter will begin to turn an almost amber color and there will be flecks on the bottom of the pan.
  2. Once the butter has browned completely, add in the garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add in the tomatoes then turn the heat down to low. Let the tomatoes cook for about 5 minutes, getting soft.
  3. Throw in the basil and stir well then simmer over heat until the pasta is finished cooking.
  4. Once the pasta is done, drain well and add to a bowl. Top with the brown butter tomato sauce and toss well to completely incorporate.
  5. Garnish with additional basil if you choose.


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