When you think of butter sauce for pasta, you might get transported back to your childhood and the classic buttered noodles with salt and pepper your mom used to make. While those are still delicious, butter sauce for pasta is a category that’s come a long way and offers endless combinations of butter and flavor.
What is butter sauce made of?
Classic butter sauce, or as the French say, “Beurre Blanc,” consists of just a few kitchen staple ingredients. Melted butter is combined with water and then thickened—usually with either flour or cornstarch, but sometimes with egg yolk. You can stop there, or you can add some extra flavors for seasonings like lemon juice, garlic, and capers. You name it, you can combine it with butter.
How do you thicken butter sauce for pasta?
As we mentioned, flour and cornstarch are the most popular ingredients used to thicken butter sauce for pasta. After you’ve heated your butter and water combo in your skillet, turn your heat down so nothing scorches as you work in the dry ingredients. Then slowly whisk in your flour or cornstarch. Whisk constantly, adding more bit by bit until you have that creamy consistency you’re looking for. This can take anywhere up to around five minutes.
How do you keep butter sauce from separating?
Nothing is worse than your pasta getting ruined because your sauce breaks or separates while cooking. The trick is a combination of going quickly and taking your time. Move the whisk at top speed when mixing in your dry ingredient, but add it into your sauce slowly. Your sauce is also less likely to break if your dairy ingredients are super fresh, which is something you can count on when you choose Epicurean Butter.
4 ways to use butter to enhance your pasta
- Brown butter: The French call this one “beurre noisette.” Brown butter sauce seems fancy, but it’s actually really simple to whip up. It’s essentially just cooking your butter in a skillet until it starts to brown. With our Garlic Parmesan Brown Butter Pasta recipe, you don’t need to cook any garlic to add to the sauce—it’s already in the butter.
- Hollandaise: Remember how we mentioned you can use egg yolk to thicken your butter sauce for pasta? Hollandaise sauce isn’t just for eggs and salmon. Try it on your pasta sometime.
- Garlic butter: A classic butter sauce doesn’t need many bells and whistles. Plus, our Pasta Primavera recipe doesn’t even require you to add your garlic in separately. Toss in some fresh, seasonal veggies, and you’re good to go.
- Lemon butter: Another favorite way to make butter sauce for pasta is to enhance it with lemon, which can lighten up the heaviness you can sometimes get when eating a bowl of pasta for dinner. Even better, you can swap plain butter for Epicurean Butter Lemon Garlic Herb Flavored Butter to save time, money, and ingredients.
Traditional basil pesto sauce doesn’t usually have butter in it, but our unique Arugula Pesto With Tuscan Herb Butter is a fun, seasonal spin on the popular green sauce. Arugula, garlic, cheese, walnuts, lemon juice, zest, and melted Epicurean Butter Tuscan Herb Flavored Butter come together for a flavorful pasta you won’t forget. Plus, the Tuscan Herb Flavored Butter saves you time and ingredients while adding some extra zing.
You can even use butter to cut the onion and tomato’s sharpness when making a tomato-based sauce. With many of the sauces above, you don’t even need a thickening ingredient—so no worrying about breaking the sauce.
Everything is better with butter, especially pasta. And you can enhance yours even more with the wide variety of versatile flavors from Epicurean Butter.