Picture of a bowl of spaghetti with butter and sage sauce.

Easy spaghetti with browned butter and sage

If you have access to fresh sage, butter and pasta you can make this easy dinner of spaghetti with browned butter and sage.

Quick. Fresh. Delicious. What could be better?

Yes, my friends, this is a classic Infatuated Foodie quick, fresh & delicious recipe. Although I didn’t invent it, if you like pasta now and then as I do, this is one of those things that just work.

And it works so well it’s a food marriage.

The sauce can be knocked up quickly, so it makes a great easy and family friendly meal after work, after gym or any time you want to eat home made but simply can’t be bothered. While it’s great just as it is, I’ve added a few variations in the notes below the recipe. I say after the gym, because let’s face it, there’s a fair bit of butter involved. And after you add carbs to that – well, you probably don’t want to make it too often.

The browned butter is a technique you can go back to any time. French recipes also call for it, although in France it’s known as Beurre noisette – or hazelnut butter. It doesn’t have hazelnuts in it, but the colour goes a gorgeous gold, the colour of these delicious roasted nuts. Plus, the flavour is somewhat nutty when perfectly browned.

While proper beurre noisette has a specific technique to separate the milk solids and fats, I tend to just bung it in a pan and let it heat through until the colour turns. Add sage leaves and fry them up for a couple of minutes and they turn wonderfully crisp while flavouring the butter.

It goes with …

This sauce is so good you can serve it with more than just spaghetti. Try tossing gnocchi through the butter and sage, or pour it over a poached chicken breast fillet. It also works wonderfully with filled pastas like tortellini or ravioli.

As always, happy cooking!

Spaghetti with browned butter and sage

Spaghetti with browned butter and sage

Recipe by Marti Cuatt

So quick and easy, and with loads of flavour, this one’s a winner.

Course: Dinner, Main course, PastaCuisine: ItalianDifficulty: Easyish
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Prep time


Cooking time


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You will need

  • 120 grams 120 salted butter

  • 20 20 fresh sage leaves (or more or less, according to your taste)

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tablespoons 2 freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano or Grana Padano cheese

  • Spaghetti – enough for four serves

Here’s what to do

  • Cut butter into cubes and place in a medium size stainless steel frying pan over medium heat.
  • Wash your sage leaves and pat dry with paper towel. Set aside until needed.
  • While the butter melts, swirl occasionally so it cooks evenly and not just on the bottom. It will start to foam up as it cooks. That’s okay, so just keep swirling now and then while continuing to cook so it doesn’t burn.
  • After about 5 minutes, the colour will turn from yellow to golden tan colour. At this stage, add the sage leaves and fry them until they begin to turn crispy.
  • At the same time, the butter will continue browning. You want it to be a deep brown colour, similar to the colour of hazelnuts (hence the name beurre noisettes).
  • Add a grinding of black pepper and remove from the heat, pouring into a heatproof jug.
  • Serving suggestion 1
  • When the pasta is cooked, drain it and return to the cooking pot. If you want a drier sauce, just pour the butter over and toss through. Sprinkle the crispy sage leaves over the top before serving with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
  • Serving suggestion 2
  • When your pasta is cooked, mix some of the pasta water into the butter pan with a tablespoon of parmesan cheese. This will form a creamy sauce. Toss the drained pasta through the pan with the water/cheese sauce, then divide across your plates.
  • Pour the butter sauce over each plate, sprinkle a little more cheese on top and serve.

Tips and tricks

  • For a bit of zing, add some lemon zest and juice to the butter and sage before removing from the heat. Be careful though, it might spatter a little, so stand back.
  • Toss a little chopped flat leaf parsley through the spaghetti for some extra herby flavour.
  • To serve – option 2, instead of using Parmesan cheese, try Pecorino instead. Its earthy, salty notes will add another layer of flavour.

Like this recipe? Here are more pasta recipes to try.

Pasta Verde with roasted tomatoes and basil feature image

It’s home-made and fresh, my Pasta Verde is tinged with green from fresh spinach, steamed and mixed through the dough. Served with roasted cherry tomatoes and asparagus, it’s a delicious, healthy meal.

Picture of fresh pasta pappardelle

Brown butter and sage works beautifully with fresh pasta as well as dried pasta. If you’ve never made it before, here’s a recipe for fresh egg pasta. It’s wonderful plain with sauce, or you can use it as filled pasta too.

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