Farfalle with Brown Butter, Peas and Sage

Despite being a really quick recipe, this is a deeply delicious pasta sauce. Browning, or burning, the butter completely transforms the flavour into something much richer and more interesting. Hold your nerve during the browning, and don’t take the pan off the heat until you smell the tell-tale aroma – it should be sweet and nutty with rich caramel notes.


Serves 4

400g farfalle

250g fresh peas

80g Parmesan cheese, grated, plus extra to serve

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the brown butter

200g butter

Large handful of sage leaves

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped


1Bring a kettle of water to the boil. Half-fill a saucepan with it, season with salt and return to the boil. (It’s important to add just enough water to cover the pasta so that the water will become as starchy as possible.) Add the pasta, stir well and cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente.

2Meanwhile, put the butter into a sauté pan and place it over a high heat. When it begins to brown, remove from the heat, add the sage leaves and garlic and stir well.

3Drain the pasta, reserving the cooking water.

4Pour a ladleful of the reserved water into the sauté pan and add the peas. Return the pan to the heat and cook for 1–2 minutes, stirring constantly.

5Add the pasta and Parmesan and stir well. Add a little more pasta water, if needed, and season to taste.

6Serve in warm bowls with a twist of black pepper and extra Parmesan sprinkled on top.

Chef’s tip

Get into the habit of always putting a bowl under the colander when draining pasta so you never pour the starchy cooking water down the plughole – you always need a little to help the sauce really stick to the pasta.

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