If I’m not quick in deciding what’s for dinner on a Saturday evening this is what the kids demand. They call it Butter Pasta, but the name doesn’t do it justice. It’s quick, it’s filling, it’s brimming with flavour. One thing is for sure this is super easy to throw together. There are no vegetables in this, which delights the kids but throws me into a health freak panic. I just serve a big salad at the table with this and everyone (especially me) is happy.
In the most basic iteration of this dish you are boiling a pan of pasta, and serving with butter and Parmesan, which melts gloriously as you stir through the hot pasta. But really there are so many little things you can add to spruce this up. In this, my most complex version, which isn’t very complicated at all, I’m suggesting garlic, dried chilli flakes and a little chicken stock along with the standard issue butter and parmesan. Oh and who wouldn’t want a generous grinding of fresh black pepper over this?
We’ve eaten this with every pasta shape imaginable (except macaroni, which I can’t help but reserve exclusively for Macaroni Cheese). I think my favourite is cavatappi (the kind of corkscrew shaped pasta you can see in the picture above) or fusilli. The kids love spaghetti, of course.
Use what ever pasta you have in the cupboard and make this as simple, or elaborate as you fancy. Here are some of the additions I’ve tried, and loved, so far: lemon zest; fresh red chilli fried with the garlic; sun dried tomatoes; fresh herbs, especially basil, oregano or thyme. As I write this I’m thinking truffle oil in place of the butter would be heavenly. Let your taste buds be your guide.
Serves 4 – 5
- 500g bag of pasta
- 1 garlic clove, crushed
- A small splash of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of dried chilli flakes (more if you fancy a spicy pasta)
- 1/2 stock cube (chicken stock is lovely here but veg is also fine)
- A rounded tablespoon of butter (more if you like a slicker pasta)
- A generous grating of Parmesan cheese
- Black pepper
- Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions, or for slightly less time than the packet suggests if, like me, you prefer al dente pasta.
- Meanwhile gently fry your garlic in the olive oil for a minute, add the dried chilli and stir.
- Crumble in the 1/2 stock cube and add about 100ml of hot water. Stir, simmer for a couple of minutes then turn out the heat.
- Once your pasta is cooked to perfection, drain and return to the pan, pour and scrape in the garlicky stock and stir.
- Now plop in the butter and stir again, add more butter if you feel this quantity isn’t enough for you, just don’t go crazy or this could very quickly account for a full day’s worth of calories!
- Scatter in your Parmesan cheese and stir again.
- Serve with a good grinding of black pepper and little more grated Parmesan.