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Basil Brown Butter Spaghetti + Heirloom Tomato Salad

Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Vegetarian
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Why we love it:

What a sleeper hit! This pasta might look simple (and be simple to make) but it packs a ton of bright flavor. Taking time to brown the butter lends a rich, caramel taste. Once you add the parmesan, this is sort of a grown-up version of buttered parmesan noodles. Serve as a whole meal or try this as a quick side dish for a larger group.


  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 pound Spaghetti
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 6 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter (divided)
  • 12 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes (optional, to taste)
  • 112 teaspoons Black Pepper (freshly cracked)
  • 12 cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated is important)
  • 112 cups Basil (fresh)
  • 1 pound Heirloom Tomato
  • 1 Lemon
  • 12 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil (optional)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. PASTA

    Bring a large pot of water to a boil with most of the salt; cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Just before draining, reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain.

    Mince the garlic finely.

  • 2. BUTTER

    Melt 4 Tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper and cook for 2 - 3 minutes, until the butter solids are browning and fragrant. Reduce the heat to low and add ½ cup pasta water, the pasta, remaining unmelted butter, and parmesan.

    Toss until combined and smooth.

  • 3. BASIL

    Tear, or chiffonade the basil. Remove pasta from the heat, add the basil and toss, adding in more pasta water if needed to thin the sauce.


    Slice and plate tomatoes. Top with a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon; drizzle with olive oil if desired.

  • 5. SERVING

    Serve piled high in bowls and top with more cheese or basil to taste. Serve with tomato salad.

Check out our new features!


    use GF pasta
    make sauce with olive oil instead of butter and omit cheese. Try a pinch of nutritional yeast
    there’s a lot here - you can reduce or omit
    it really matters in this type of sauce to use a block of parmesan that you have freshly grated. Pre-grated usually contains some type of anti-caking agent and it's ok on top of marinara, but it won’t melt as smoothly. Pecorino is great here too

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Perhaps omit the basil on their portion and just serve butter and parmesan noodles
  • Add a green veggie or fruit to round out the meal

For Toddlers

  • Cut spaghetti or use a different shape pasta
  • Add fruit or veggies

For Choosy Eaters

  • Toss their pasta with butter and parmesan
  • erve with veggies and fruit, possibly bread

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

Chop garlic and store in a tupperware for up to a week

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