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Tell me if this scenario sounds familiar: you have a dinner scheduled, and you have to prepare a show-stopper. Well, to be fair, you don’t have to, but you feel the inordinate pressure to do so. And you’re so worried about knocking it out of the park! You want it to be luxurious and fancy (and perhaps show off some more culinary acumen than you actually possess), but you’re also strapped for time and ideas, and you’re starting to feel a little overwhelmed. Friend, let me stop you right there and solve one of your problems with this super easy pasta recipe.
Friends of mine know that this white truffle butter pasta dinner is, hands down, my favorite pasta recipe. It’s an easy pasta recipe, an insanely delicious pasta dinner, and it tastes so luxurious you could probably swear that it took forever to put together. Let me blow your mind real quick and tell you (a) nope, it’s one of the easiest, quickest recipes I cook and (b) it comes together in probably 20 minutes or less (depending on how quickly I can get the water to boil).
Spoiler Alert: This easy pasta dinner is not Whole30-compliant, and if you can tolerate gluten and dairy, it is certainly worth a try.
I can’t take all the credit for this easy pasta recipe. I first saw it on Barefoot Contessa on Food Network what feels like eons ago. On the show, Ina Garten was helping a young woman cook a fabulous pasta dinner without the overwhelm (also, it hearkens directly to Ina Garten’s tagline How easy is that?). And I remember watching this episode – which must have aired close to eight years ago – in rapt attention. There was no way this easy pasta recipe could make that delicious of a pasta dish that quickly.
Oh, how wrong I was.
I swiftly went to one of our grocery stores in town, and I picked up the ingredients. I had to make some adjustments because I don’t live in the Hamptons, and I wanted some options that were a bit more affordable (yes, Ina, store-bought is fine, thank you very much). I came home, made it, and was instantly enraptured with this white truffle butter pasta dish. It is so good. It is so delicious. It is so luxurious. It is so simple and easy that it will surprise even the most discerning that you’re able to pull together this fancy of a dish with six ingredients and one pot and one pan.
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Tips for Cooking the Insanely Easy Pasta Recipe, White Truffle Butter Pasta
- Don’t forget to salt the water for your pasta. From the good people at Fine Cooking, “salted water flavors the pasta.” When you’re cooking this easy pasta dish and you add salt to the water at the outset, the pasta more readily and easily absorbs the salt. This happens, in part because, as the pasta dish cooks, the pasta itself swells and absorbs the liquid… including the salt.
- Go for the white truffle butter. Admittedly, you may have to hunt for it a little bit. White truffle butter is typically not available at most grocery stores so you may have to venture out to a specialty shop or a finer grocery store. I personally like Fabrique Délices because I can grab this at my local Central Market, and it’s a bit more affordable than some options I’ve seen. I mean, while I love this dish and there’s probably something to be said for fancier, more expensive white truffle butter, but I am not really in the business of spending $20+ on this one ingredient that’s not an exceptional piece of meat. The Fabrique Délices whit truffle butter tastes just fine!
- Remember to reserve your pasta water. Something else that I like about this easy pasta dinner is that it can be made a little ahead of time. I wouldn’t leave it out for hours, but you could easily cook it first and let it sit for a moment. If you need to let it rest for a bit, reserve some of your pasta water. The sauce may thicken a little bit, and adding pasta water to the dish helps to warm it back up and thin out the sauce just a tad.
- Go for the egg pasta. OK, I haven’t tried this recipe with another kind of pasta, like a durum or semolina, but there’s something a little more about using a different kind of pasta. It’s out of the ordinary (certainly not mac and cheese, which is a staple in our house!) so it helps to add to the specialness of this dish. According to Epicurious, egg pasta will get a little bigger while cooking than eggless kinds of pasta, and that may help with some of the flavor absorption. I’m not Alton Brown so I will leave the science-y stuff of pasta to the gastro-experts.
Once you try this recipe and find it as delicious as I do, I cannot recommend enough picking up the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook. I can say this with absolute certainty: I have never made a bad recipe from Ina Garten. It may be the copious amounts of butter (which, to be honest, I have a slight love affair with because it even makes an appearance in my coffee) or it may just be the notion that simple food can be delicious. Regardless, I have never gone wrong with a Barefoot Contessa recipe, and all of her cookbooks are on our shelves.
Luxurious and Easy Pasta Recipe: White Truffle Butter Pasta
This decadent and easy pasta dish cooks up quickly and will impress your friends! Plus, at 6 ingredients, it's hard to beat!
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 3 ounces white truffle butter
- 1 package egg pasta Egg fettuccine is probably the most easily accessible to you!
- 3 ounces Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp kosher salt Use this for salting your pasta water!
- 1 tsp kosher salt
Place a large sauté pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the heavy cream to the pan, and heat the cream until it just comes to a simmer.
Once the heavy cream is simmering, reduce the heat to very low and add the truffle butter, 1 tsp of kosher salt and pepper. Gently swirl the ingredients together until the butter melts. Keep the sauce warm over very low heat.
Meanwhile, bring the water to boil in a separate pot. Follow the package directions for the amount of water you'll need... and don't forget to salt your water by adding approximately 1 tbsp of kosher salt.
Once the water is boiling, add your pasta, following the package directions. Most egg pastas will cook for approximately 5-7 minutes.
When the pasta is finished, reserve 1/2 to 1 cup of the pasta water in a separate cup or bowl. Drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the sauté pan and gently toss it with the white truffle and heavy cream sauce.
If the sauce gets too thick or creamy, slowly add the reserved pasta water. Start approximately 1 tbsp at a time so the sauce stays creamy and rich and not thin and runny.
Before you serve or plate the pasta, add the Parmesan cheese. Serve warm and enjoy!
This is just one of the amazing recipes found in the Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics cookbook. So many more of them sound – and are! – delicious.
Do you have any Barefoot Contessa cookbooks or favorite recipes? Tell me below which one you love the most!