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.
Ingredient notes & substitutions
Fresh ground black pepper makes a difference for this recipe - but if you don't have it, use the pre-ground kind
Salted butter - if you don't have it, use unsalted and add a pinch of salt while cooking. Can also be swapped in part or fully for olive oil, with some change to the taste.
Spaghetti can be switched for another type of pasta, preferably another thin kind like linguine or tagliatelle but others also work. You can also use fresh homemade or store-bought pasta instead of dry 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
Minced garlic adds more garlic flavor than chopped garlic - feel free to use either depending on how garlicky you like it
Parmesan cheese can be switched for Pecorino cheese or a generic "Italian hard cheese"
Tips & tricks
Make sure to salt the pasta watergenerously - it should taste like the sea.
Cook the pasta until al dente and not more. The best way to find out if the pasta is done is to taste it - I do this the first time when it's 1 minute left according to the package instructions. It should be soft, but still give some resistance when you bite into it. When you think "maybe it should have just one more minute" - it's usually done.
Keep the temperature at medium when making the sauce, to avoid burning the garlic.
Pasta cooking liquid is the secret to making this sauce really creamy - don't skip it!
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.
Make it vegetarian by switching Parmesan for an Italian "Parmesan-style" hard cheese that doesn't use animal rennet - you can find this in most large supermarkets.
Add fresh herbs like parsley or basil at the end
Add veggies like cherry tomatoes for a bright pop of flavor, or roasted peppers for a different flavor profile. I would add both of these at the end to preserve their texture.
Add bacon because bacon makes everything better
Add mushrooms to the butter first of all, and add more butter until they are not absorbing any more. Then add a few extra tablespoons of butter for the sauce and after that the shallots followed by the minced garlic.
Add spinach to get some more nutrients in there - I'd add it at the same time as the pasta
Add chopped walnuts - raw or roasted - for a bit of a crunch