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15-minute Garlic Butter Pasta

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Garlic Butter Pasta with Parmesan Cheese is a quick, easy pasta dish filled with flavor – perfect as a meal on its own, served alongside a protein or as a smaller serving for the pasta course in a classic Italian multi-course dinner. Creamy, cheesy, garlicky and with a touch of peppery heat this is a staple dish you will come back to over and over again.

top down view of two bowls with garlic butter pasta on a wooden surface

Garlic butter is one of those things I never tire of. Whether used for garlic bread, melting on top of a freshly grilled steak or – as here – with pasta. Pair it with some Parmesan cheese and yes, there we have it – a new weeknight favorite that you can make in less than 15 minutes.

Why you will love this garlic butter pasta sauce

  • It’s quick – even quicker than cooking the pasta, that is
  • It’s easy – a few steps, limited chopping, and requires limited cooking skills
  • It’s full of delicious garlic butter flavor
  • Super creamy thanks to the pasta water mixing with the cheese and butter
  • Just a hint of spice & acidity from Worcestershire sauce, white wine and fresh ground black pepper that beautifully balances the heaviness of pasta and butter
  • It’s versatile and can be served as a meal on its own, with the protein of your choice or as the pasta course in a traditional Italian dinner

What you need to make garlic buttered pasta

top down image showing ingredients needed to make garlic butter pasta
  1. Butter
  2. Spaghetti
  3. Finely chopped shallots
  4. Minced garlic
  5. White wine
  6. Grated Parmesan cheese
  7. Worcestershire sauce
  8. Freshly ground black pepper

Suggested substitutions

  • If you don’t have salted butter, use unsalted and add a pinch of of salt while cooking.
  • Spaghetti can be switched for another type of pasta, preferably another thin kind like tagliatelle but other types like penne will work in a pinch. You can also use fresh homemade or store-bought pasta.
  • Shallots can be substituted for red or yellow onion, or leeks
  • White wine can be switched for sparkling white wine – champagne, prosecco, cava or something else.
  • Parmesan cheese can be switched for Pecorino cheese

How to make it

This recipe is a quick one – so quick, that if you’re using dry pasta you need to make sure to get that cooking before even considering the sauce. Once that is in the pot with heavily salted water (it should taste like the sea) – you have time to chop your shallots, mince your garlic and grate your cheese.

With about 5 minutes left on the pasta, it’s time to start making the garlic butter sauce.

collage showing how to melt butter and add chopped shallots and minced garlic
  1. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add in the chopped shallots.
  3. Mix and cook for 1 minute, taking care not to let the shallot burn.
  4. Add the minced garlic, mix and cook for another minute. Once again, without letting the garlic or shallots burn. A little color is OK, just don’t burn it.
collage showing how to add Worcestershire sauce and white wine before cooking together and adding pasta
  1. Add the Worcestershire sauce and mix.
  2. Add the white wine and cook for 30 seconds to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
  3. The sauce should now be a little bit thickened.
  4. Add the pasta…
collage showing how to add pasta water and mix before mixing in Parmesan cheese
  1. …and the pasta water.
  2. Mix well, making sure that all the pasta gets well coated.
  3. Add the parmesan cheese.
  4. Mix well, and top with fresh ground black pepper and extra parmesan cheese when serving.
side view of a bowl of garlic butter pasta topped with parmesan cheese and fresh ground black pepper

Expert tips

  • Make sure to salt the pasta water generously – it should taste like the sea.
  • Use fresh ground black pepper – for this recipe it really does make a difference.
  • To step it up – use fresh homemade pasta. This will cook quicker, so get the pasta water started and then add the pasta to the water just before you add the Worcestershire sauce to the garlic butter sauce.

How to serve it

  • As a meal on its own,
  • With the protein of your choice – I’d go for shrimp or chicken (it would be delicious with this grilled lemon-basil chicken). Either on the side, or mixed in with the sauce.
  • With vegetables such as asparagus or broccoli (fried, plain steamed – or roasted with garlic)- either on the side, or mixed in with the sauce.
  • As the pasta course when serving a traditional Italian multi-course dinner.
a forkful of garlic butter spaghetti lifted up over a bowl full, with parmesan cheese in the background

I hope you enjoy this simple garlic butter pasta sauce! If you made it – please leave a comment and a rating and let me know what you thought. Enjoy!

Emmeline

top down view of two bowls with garlic butter pasta on a wooden surface

Garlic Butter Pasta

5 from 6 votes
Print Rate
Course: Main Course, Pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 2 people as a main course
Calories: 906kcal

Ingredients

  • 200 g dry spaghetti
  • 4 Tbsp salted butter
  • 5 Tbsp finely chopped shallots
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • ¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 Tbsp white wine
  • 1.5 dl pasta cooking water
  • 1.5 dl grated parmesan cheese + more to serve
  • fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Cook the spaghetti al dente according to package instruction, and when draining make sure to reserve some pasta water to use in the sauce.
  • With about 5 minutes left on the pasta, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat.
  • When the butter is melted, add in the chopped shallots and cook for a minute while stirring.
  • Then add the minced garlic and cook for 1 minute while stirring.
  • Add the Worcestershire sauce and mix, followed by the white wine. Cook for 30 seconds to allow some of the liquid to evaporate.
  • Add the pasta and the pasta cooking liquid, and mix well.
  • Add the parmesan and mix well.
  • Serve topped with a lot of fresh ground black pepper and extra parmesan cheese.

Equipment needed for this recipe

Notes

Suggested substitutions

  • Spaghetti can be switched for another type of pasta, preferably another thin kind like tagliatelle but other kinds like penne will work in a pinch. You can also use fresh homemade or store-bought pasta.
  • If you don’t have salted butter, use unsalted and add a pinch of of salt while cooking.
  • Shallots can be substituted for red or yellow onion, or leeks
  • White wine can be switched for sparkling white wine – champagne, prosecco, cava or something else.
  • Parmesan cheese can be switched for Pecorino cheese

Expert tips

  • Make sure to salt the pasta water generously – it should taste like the sea.
  • Use fresh ground black pepper – for this recipe it really does make a difference.
  • To step it up – use fresh homemade pasta. This will cook quicker, so get the pasta water started and then add the pasta to the water just before you add the Worcestershire sauce to the garlic butter sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 906kcal | Carbohydrates: 83g | Protein: 41g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 27g | Cholesterol: 112mg | Sodium: 1426mg | Potassium: 394mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1295IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 933mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional information is approximate and automatically calculated, and should only be viewed as an indication.

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