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Author Notes: I have no idea where I picked it up, but I've been making this sauce for years. I'm not going to claim that there's anything authentic about this recipe, and I'm sure that there are about a million other versions floating about in family cookbooks and recipe card boxes, not to mention online (and probably on this very site!), but I did want to share my version because it's easy as can be, and I was reminded of just how simple and good it is when I had a craving for it last Friday night. You can dress this up with anything from freshly cracked pepper to grated lemon zest or fresh chopped herbs, or if you're feeling really indulgent, with big chunks of freshly steamed lobster meat (and the delicious roe, if you have it). The recipe below will dress about a pound of cooked pasta and feed two hungry diners, with leftovers; you can scale it up to serve more guests pretty easily. —lastnightsdinner
cup (or 8 T or 1 stick) unsalted butter (preferably a rich European-style butter with lots of butterfat)
cup heavy cream
cup freshly grated Parmagiano Reggiano cheese, plus additional for the table
Kosher or sea salt to taste
to serve: 3/4 to 1 lb. hot cooked pasta, plus a splash of the starchy water it was cooked in
optional garnishes: freshly ground pepper, freshly grated lemon zest, chopped fresh parsley or basil, snipped fresh chives
- Melt the butter in the cream in a wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat, stirring or whisking often. When the butter is completely melted, add the cheese a little at a time, whisking or stirring after each addition. Continue cooking until the sauce is reduced and thickened, about 20-25 minutes. Taste and add salt if needed. Toss with hot cooked pasta, adding a bit of the starchy pasta water to help it all come together. Serve in warmed pasta bowls, adding your choice of garnish, if desired. Pass additional grated cheese at the table.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipes with 5 Ingredients or Fewer