Brown Butter Tortellini

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Whenever I heard of the phrase "brown butter," I shuddered. I mean, why or how would someone even do this? What's the point? Well, after making brown butter several times for different types of recipes, I can officially confirm I am obsessed and will never stop making it. I cannot believe I've waited this long to dabble in making brown butter. I've seen others make it, and I had to believe that I was able to achieve it. I will say, one or two fails into it, that the trick to getting perfectly browned butter is watching the pan meticulously and stirring to ensure nothing is burnt. I've made brown butter for cookies, and it was finally time I used it in pasta. Tortellini felt like the perfect vessel for brown butter, so here we are.

If you've never had brown butter before, it is butter in a rendered down version, with tiny little bits of butter fat at the bottom of the pan which makes up the "brown" part of the butter. If you're not familiar, butter is made up of fat and water. It's 80% fat, but that also leaves the remaining 20% as water. When the butter is browned, it goes through a process of melting, sputtering (because of the water molecules), foaming, and then lastly, browning. It's easy to get caught up in the hoopla that surrounds brown butter because it can be tedious and stressful if not taken with care (the butter can burn within seconds), but I PROMISE you, this is totally doable. If I can make brown butter, so can you!

Making Brown Butter:

  1. Add butter to a light-bottomed medium pan and turn flame on to a medium heat. It will begin to sputter and foam. This is a good thing!
  2. Continue to stir the butter and keep on a medium heat, ensuring the solids do not burn at the bottom. The aromas from the browned butter should be intense with nutty and buttery notes.
  3. Let the butter start to render down and brown; keeping an eye on the pan for 5-7 minutes. Once the foaming starts to dissipate, continue to stir and you'll start to see small brown bits at the bottom of the pan, and the liquid butter will become a golden or amber color.
  4. Turn off the heat. Scrape the browned bits and the browned butter into a bowl and serve as desired (for recipe for tortellini, see recipe card)

Brown butter is such a fun way to elevate any dish or baked good. It adds a depth of flavor that is unlike any other. Nutty, buttery, creamy, slightly toasted, and tossed with this tortellini in a parmesan and cream sauce is truly the perfect combination of flavors. Pasta and butter, is there anything better?

Brown Butter Tortellini

Have no fear, brown butter is here! Adding brown butter to a dish always enhances it, and when paired with tender tortellini, it's mind-blowing. Browning butter is not at challenging as it looks, and the only way to conquer your fear is to jump right in. You'll love the end result.

Author:
Morgan

Ingredients

  • 1 pkg fresh tortellini, boiled and drained
  • 5 tbsp butter, unsalted
  • ⅓ cup heavy cream or half and half
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, roughly chopped

Instructions

  1. Add 9 cups of water to a large pot and bring to a boil. Cook the tortellini for 3-4 minutes or until they float to the top. Drain and set aside
  2. Add butter to a light-bottomed frying pan and turn flame on to a medium heat. It will begin to sputter and foam. This is a good thing!
  3. Continue to stir the butter and keep on a medium heat, ensuring the solids do not burn at the bottom. The aromas from the browned butter should be intense with nutty and buttery notes.
  4. Let the butter brown; keeping an eye on the butter for 5-7 minutes, when you see the color change to a light or medium amber turn off the heat and remove the pan.
  5. Scrape the browned bits and pour the butter (and brown bits) to the tortellini and pour in the parmesan cheese and milk of choice.
  6. Keeping the flame on low, stir continuously to incorporate the parmesan cheese and the milk until its mostly absorbed. Turn off the heat and garnish with parmesan and basil. Serve immediately.

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