This Brown Butter Pasta is loaded with Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, Goats Cheese and Toasted Walnuts. Better still – it’s beyond easy to make!
Butternut Squash Pasta
Butternut squash and pasta are a match made in heaven, and we are here today to celebrate that fact. A lot of recipes roast the butternut squash, others puree it and make it into a sauce. For me, the easiest way to create butternut squash pasta is to pan fry the butternut squash. I do this for two reasons:
- Same great flavour as roasting.
- All in the same pan, so less washing up.
Alongside the butternut squash we’ll add a few more goodies (which I’ll get to in just a sec), but for now here’s the first steps for prepping the pasta:
- Toast walnuts in a dry pan (optional but recommended).
- Remove from pan, add butternut squash and oil to same pan.
- Fry until browned and crispy, then remove from pan.
- Add in mushrooms.
- Fry until they begin to wilt.
Brown Butter Pasta
Alrighty, let’s talk about butter. Which is honestly my favourite thing to do 🤣
What is brown butter?
Brown butter is essentially melted butter that’s been slowly cooked down until it turns from a lemony yellow colour to a deep brown colour. Brown butter has a rich, sweet and nutty flavour which is completely different to regular melted butter.
How do you brown butter?
Keep the pan on a medium heat (no higher). Keep gently stirring the melted butter until it starts to foam. Continue cooking and stirring past this point until you see tiny black specs forming. These are just milk solids. The butter is browned when it releases a nutty aroma and turns from a light brown to a slightly darker brown.
How to make Brown Butter Pasta (quick summary)
- Melt butter into pan with mushrooms.
- Stir until it begins to foam.
- Add garlic and thyme.
- Whisk in starchy pasta water.
- Add pasta.
- Add butternut squash.
Tips for Brown Butter Pasta
Starchy Pasta Water
This is what will turn your browned butter into a creamy/glossy sauce. Just before draining the pasta you’ll want to scoop out a cup of the starchy pasta water. When adding to the butter, quickly whisk to emulsify. The starch molecules are what help the emulsification and helps turn the sauce slightly creamy, as opposed to greasy.
Browned, not melted
Important to fully brown the butter, don’t just melt it. The flavour difference between brown butter and just melted butter is huge!
Don’t be tempted to crank up the heat to speed up the process. If at all the butter starts smelling as if it’s burning, turn down the heat immediately.
How to serve Brown Butter Pasta
You can either sprinkle over goat’s cheese whilst the pasta is in the pan, give it one final toss and serve. Or, sprinkle over individual portions. You don’t want to completely mix it through because it melts and goes gloopy. For individual portions squeeze over fresh lemon juice and sprinkle over your (crushed) toasted walnuts. Done and dusted!
Alrighty, let’s tuck into the full recipe for this brown butter pasta shall we?!
How to make Brown Butter Pasta (Full Recipe & Video)
Brown Butter Pasta with Butternut Squash
- Large Deep Frying Pan & Wooden Spoon
- Large Pot & Colander
- Jug/Cup (for scooping pasta water)
- Sharp Knife & Chopping Board
- Peeler (for butternut squash)
Ingredients (check list):
- 12.3oz / 350g Fusilli Pasta (or pasta of choice)
- 5.3oz / 150g Mushrooms, sliced (here I use Chestnut)
- 5.3oz / 150g Goats Cheese, crumbled (or to preference)
- 3/4 cup / 75g Walnuts (or to preference)
- 1/2 medium Butternut Squash, peeled & diced into tiny cubes (approx 14oz/400g)
- 4 heaped tbsp Unsalted Butter
- 3-4 sprigs of Fresh Thyme, leaves only (approx 1 tbsp)
- 2 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
- 1 Lemon, juice only
- Olive Oil, as needed
- Salt & Black Pepper, to taste
- Add your walnuts to a large (dry) pan over medium heat and toast until they begin to lightly char, shaking frequently. Remove from pan and crush just before serving (either with your hands, the bottom of a mug, in a zip lock bag etc).
- In the same pan add a good drizzle of olive oil (around 1 tbsp) and add your butternut squash. Fry until it begins to brown, stirring every now and then. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper, then continue frying until golden and crispy. Remove from pan.
- In the same pan add your mushroom slices (and more oil if needed) and begin frying until they begin to wilt. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, then continue frying until they begin to brown.
- At this point pop your pasta in heavily salted boiling water and cook until al dente. Don't pour in a tonne of water, only enough to efficiently cook the pasta. You want it fairly shallow so it's extra starchy. Just before draining, scoop out a cup of the salty starchy water.
- Melt butter into the pan with the mushrooms. It will begin to foam, just keep gently stirring until the butter starts turning from a lemony yellow to a light brown. After a few more minutes you will start to see tiny dark specks start to form on the surface, these are just the milk solids. Add in your garlic and thyme leaves, give it a stir and continue browning for another 1-2mins. Once you see the butter turning a deeper brown colour, it will release a nutty aroma. This is when your butter is properly browned. If at any point the nutty aroma smells more like burning, then simply reduce the heat.
- Pour in 1 cup starchy pasta water and quickly whisk to emulsify the water with the butter. It should start turning into a browny coloured sauce. Once it starts to thicken up stir in your pasta and butternut squash. Sprinkle over goats cheese, give the pan ONE toss (don't stir or the cheese will melt and go gloopy - alternatively you can serve cheese sprinkled over individual portions).
- Serve by squeezing over lemon juice (to taste) and a good sprinkling of crushed walnuts.
Quick 1 min demo!
Your Private Notes:
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