Simple and Delicious Buttered Herb Pasta

Buttered Herb Pasta
The Spruce
  • Total: 15 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Servings: 4 to 6 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
383 Calories
12g Fat
58g Carbs
11g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 383
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 7g 33%
Cholesterol 27mg 9%
Sodium 1216mg 53%
Total Carbohydrate 58g 21%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Protein 11g
Calcium 102mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Buttered pasta is a popular choice for young, picky eaters, but this simple recipe featuring fresh herbs turns the basic dish into something that will please the whole family. Buttered herb pasta is a good accompaniment to a variety of entrees, from meatloaf to broiled chicken to fish. Because there are so few ingredients, it's important that you choose a good quality pasta, preferably one from Italy. Also, make sure the butter is fresh and good tasting, and that the herbs are fresh and bright green. If you're finishing the dish with Parmesan cheese, it needs to be freshly grated, not the kind from the canister.

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 16 ounces linguine or spaghetti pasta
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • Optional: 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients. 

    Ingredients for buttered herb pasta
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. For one pound of pasta, you should use 4 to 5 quarts of water. Add the salt.

    Bring large pot of water to boil and add salt
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  3. Add the linguine or spaghetti and stir. Set the timer for 2 minutes less than the package directions state. You don't want to overcook the pasta, and it's best to start testing the pasta before it's done.

    Cook linguine in pot
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  4. When the timer goes off, taste a strand. It should be tender, but not mushy, with some resistance in the center.

    Test one linguine to see if it is cooked
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  5. Remove 1/3 cup of pasta water and set aside.

    Remove some water out of pasta
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  6. Drain the pasta into a colander.

    Drain pasta
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  7. Return the pasta to the hot pot.

    Add pasta back to pot
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  8. Add the butter, parsley, and basil and toss with tongs. Add some of the pasta cooking water to thicken.

    Add butter, parsley, and basil, and toss with tongs. Add some of the pasta cooking water
    The Spruce  
  9. Toss over low heat for a minute or two, and sprinkle with cheese if using.

    Finished buttered herb pasta
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  10. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Why Use the Pasta Cooking Water?

The secret to getting a pasta dish thick and creamy—without the use of cream—is by adding a bit of the water the pasta was cooked in. The leftover cooking water retains some of the salt and starch from the pasta, which, when combined with a fat like butter, makes a silky smooth sauce, and helps the sauce cling to the noodles. Reserve about 1/3 cup of the water before you drain the pasta (putting a measuring cup next to the pot is a good reminder), then slowly add that water to the pasta while you are tossing it in the sauce. You only need as much water as is necessary to reach your desired consistency.

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