Is there anything quite as tummy-rumblingly enticing as the aroma of butter sizzling in a pan? Add to that some aromatics like garlic and fresh herbs and we are talking about a luxurious wonder-sauce, perfect for today’s recipe: Herby Brown Butter Ravioli.
Hold up… what’s brown butter?
If you’ve never tried a brown butter sauce, you are in for a treat! Cooking butter until it is lightly toasted brown along with garlic and herbs brings out a wonderfully nutty and complex flavour.
What does brown butter sauce taste like?
In a word? Delicious! In all seriousness, it has a lightly-toasted, caramelised flavour. It’s subtle, but completely addictive.
And you serve brown butter sauce with pasta?
Oh yes! So often we take those delicious little pockets of fresh pasta like ravioli or tortellini and drown them in a tomato sauce. This is a shame as they are packed with subtle flavour in their fillings. A tasty butter Parmesan sauce like this will accentuate their flavour, rather than disguise it.
Isn’t this Brown butter ravioli mega-calorific?
It’s not too bad! Look, I’m not saying you should eat this sort of dish every day (though I could) but you’re actually splitting 100 or so grams of butter four ways so it’s not as bad as it sounds. As with every delicious meal, enjoy in moderation.
After all, as the great Italian beauty, Sophia Loren famously said ‘Everything you see I owe to spaghetti!’
Use good pasta
You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll say it again, when you are making a dish with few ingredients, use the best quality that you can get your hands on.
Because this is supposed to be a quick and simple dish I am totally on board with using store-bought ravioli, though if you fancy making your own filled pasta you can check out my recipe for Homemade Tortelli or Fresh Homemade Pasta over here.
Why add pasta cooking water to the Brown butter sauce?
Pasta cooking water is one of those secret ingredients! The cooking water is full of starch released from the pasta dough which helps bind the sauce together so it clings to the pasta perfectly.
Switch up the herbs to suit your tastes!
Brown butter ravioli is often served with sage, as it’s unique flavour works wonderfully here. I’f you’ve got plenty of sage to hand, go ahead and sizzle some up with the sauce. Rosemary, oregano, and marjoram all work beautifully too.
I think Herby Brown Butter sauce is the perfect partner for ravioli, but if you want to stick to tomato sauce, have a look at my Slow Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe – it’s delicious too!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What pasta is best with Brown Butter Sauce?
I think it works best with a fresh, filled pasta such as ravioli or tortellini.
Can I make Brown Butter Ravioli in advance?
That’s a no-go I’m afraid, this is one of those dishes that needs to be made just before eating for best results.
I don’t drink wine, can I leave it out of this recipe?
Of course. A splash of orange juice adds a nice acidity and sweetness in place of wine.
I don’t / can’t eat nuts! Can I leave them out of this recipe?
Absolutely! I use them for the lovely crunch they add to the sauce. Consider replacing them with something similarly crunchy such as chopped sunflower seeds.
Herby Brown Butter Ravioli
- 500 g fresh ravioli (see notes), see notes
for the brown butter sauce:
- 100 g unsalted butter, cubed
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
- 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves diced
- 2-3 sprigs of fresh parsley, diced
- 1 tsp chicken or vegetable stock powder
- 3 Tbsp chopped hazelnuts or walnuts
- zest of 1 lemon
- splash of white wine
- a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- sea salt and black pepper
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
- COOK THE RAVIOLI: Cook the ravioli in a large pot of boiling salted water as per the packet instructions, usually 8-10 minutes.
- MELT THE BUTTER: While the ravioli is cooking, heat the butter in a saucepan, stirring until melted. Continue cooking for 3 minutes until turning lightly golden.
- ADD THE FLAVOURING: Stir through the garlic, rosemary, parsley, stock powder, nuts and lemon zest and continue cooking gently for 3-4 minutes until the butter is a nutty brown and smelling wonderfully aromatic. Add a splash of white wine and a couple of spoons of pasta cooking water and bring to a simmer.
- DRAIN THE PASTA AND SERVE: Drain the pasta and divide between four warmed plates. Spoon the butter sauce generously over the pasta, squeeze over a little lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Grate over fresh Parmesan cheese just before serving.
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