Brown Butter Tomato Sauce
I accidentally came up with this pasta sauce many years ago and still make versions of it at home and work. Here’s to brown butter tomato sauce. The best part is the DOUBLE brown butter. It’s a flavor packed sauce that really supports the appreciation of quality pasta. Adding Luberon makes an herby foundation in the sauce for fresh herbs to finish the dish.
1(8oz package) butter, the best quality you can find
1 cup heavy cream
2 cloves garlic, sliced or 1 Tbsp garlic slices
1 tsp Luberon blend
Peperoncini to taste
1 quart basic tomato sauce or good quality jarred sauce
3 ounces spaghetti (regular or gluten free) cooked per package instructions
½ cup brown butter tomato sauce
Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
For the spaghetti
In a heavy bottom sauce pot, melt the butter over medium heat until the foaming subsides.
Add the heavy cream and raise the heat to bring the mixture to a boil, occasionally scraping the bottom and sides of the pot with a silicone spatula.
When the mixture breaks, reduce the heat to simmer. If using fresh garlic, add the slices now and continue scraping and whisking to keep the caramelizing milk solids from sticking to the pot.
The browned bits should be in the butter and getting nutty. If using dried garlic slices, add them now.
When the brown butter has reached the color of freshly ground coffee (as nutty brown as it can go before scorching), add the tomato sauce. Give the pan another good scrape with the spatula to deglaze any last brown bits from the pan.
Add the Luberon and pepperoncini if using. Bring the sauce to boil and reduce the heat to simmer for 10 minutes, whisking to bring the sauce and brown butter together.
For the spaghetti: Finish the cooked pasta in a pan with a half a cup of the browned butter tomato sauce, adding a few spoons of pasta water as needed to glaze the pasta. Serve with grated cheese.
Here is the basic tomato sauce recipe again for reference.
The nutty flavor of brown butter comes from the browning milk solids. Adding the extra heavy cream increases the browned solids and the nutty flavor in the end. Scraping and whisking while cooking keeps the browned solids in the butter instead of losing them stuck to the pan.
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