Meatless Monday: Pasta with Brown Butter, Almonds and Goat Cheese

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Butter, in and of itself, is awesome. Alcohol has long been called the nectar of the gods, but whoever came up with the idea of churning cream should be carved into Mount Rushmore next to Roosevelt.

So, alone butter is great, but let’s talk about brown butter for a minute. Brown butter happens when you heat butter to the point of caramelizing it, but not burning or scorching it. The water evaporates and the dairy proteins inside of the butter begin to turn, changing the flavor profile from something familiar and delicious to a nutty, savory base for sauces. It binds, coats and tastes amazing. Add it to other dairy and you have an extra creamy sauce that makes you salivate for more, and makes your doctor scream because they can hear your cholesterol skyrocket.

But, it tastes awesome so screw them. Doctors are terrible.

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What I like here is that the almonds come out of nowhere to provide crunch, texture and a little different flavor to the overall dish. It’s intensely nutty and creamy, and a quick Meatless Monday dinner.

WHAT WORKED: Dairy. Glorious dairy.

WHAT DIDN’T: Me. I attempted to pour half of the package of pasta into the stockpot, however my big dumb meathooks dumped the entire pound in.

WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “This is really good. Why do I taste cinammon?”

WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Very likely as it goes together rather quickly and mostly with ingredients you have at home.

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2014-03-10 at 16-45-20Pasta with Brown Butter, Almonds and Goat Cheese
Adapted from the original by Nick Kindelsperger at Serious Eats

  • 1/2 pound bucatini
  • 4 tbsp. (half-stick) butter
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 oz. goat cheese crumbles
  • Grated parmesan

Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water per the directions on the package. Before draining, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water.

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In the meantime, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir with a wooden spoon until butter browns, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add garlic and almonds, stir to combine and cook until the almonds are toasted, about 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon and cook until fragrant. Set aside.

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Add pasta to a large serving bowl and pour butter sauce over the top. Add pasta water and goat cheese, and toss to combine. Sprinkle liberally with parmesan cheese and serve.

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