Pasta with butter and Parmesan is a quick, easy, and inexpensive comfort food that many people prepare by boiling pasta, mixing in a bit of butter and topping with Parmesan cheese. I've been eating it for over 60 years..It's a simple meal that my mother served when she wanted something quick and cheap, and I turned to it with my children for the same reason. Nowadays, I prepare it for myself when I want something yummy without spending more than 10 minutes on dinner.
However, I have recently started using a secret hack that elevates this basic comfort food to next level elegance. Still quick, still cheap, but MUCH more flavor.
The secret? Brown butter.
You'll need 2 ounces of spaghetti, 1 Tablespoon of butter, 1 Tablespoon of pasta water, and 2 Tablespoons of Parmesan (freshly grated is best, but store-bought grated will suffice if that's what you have) for each serving.
Bring water to a boil, and start your pasta - I prefer a thin spaghetti that will take about 7 minutes to cook al dente.
Put the butter in a frying pan, big enough to hold the pasta when done, and turn the heat on to medium. Let the butter melt, then brown while the spaghetti is cooking. Watch it carefully, as you don't want it to burn - just turn a lovely nutty brown. Take it off the heat when done.
Remove as much pasta water as you'll need, then drain the spaghetti, shake it to remove any excess water, and put it in the pan with the butter on low. Toss to coat, and add the cheese. Cook for a minute over low heat to melt the cheese, then add the pasta water to coat.
Serve with additional cheese as desired.
You can add nuts, or minced garlic, or mushrooms, or shrimp, or whatever you crave to the browned butter before tossing with the pasta, if you are so inclined...or garnish with parsley, basil, sage or other herbs before serving.
But I urge you to try it unadorned first, as it really is perfection all by itself!