Brown Butter Linguine with White Beans and Spinach
A quick, easy, and delicious pasta recipe! Tender spinach and hearty white beans are tossed with a rich and toasty brown butter sauce in this flavourful linguine dish.
Hi there! This quick and easy pasta recipe is made with a few ingredients (many of which are pantry staples) and takes less than 30 minutes to prepare.
It’s full of delicious savoury flavours and is perfect for serving two people, but can be scaled up to make more quite easily!
I hope you enjoy this recipe for Brown Butter Linguine with White Beans and Spinach!
What’s in this pasta recipe?
First the linguine pasta, which is almost like a flat spaghetti, but if you look closely it’s elliptical rather than flat. It’s great with oil-based, pesto, or light cream sauces. Today I’m pairing it with a brown butter sauce (sometimes referred as browned butter).
What’s brown butter? It’s melted butter that cooks down to allow water to evaporate and the butter’s milk solids to caramelize, causing the butter to turn a golden-brown and develop rich, toasty, nutty notes.
In this recipe, the brown butter is accompanied by freshly grated parmesan cheese, minced garlic, salt, pepper, and optional red pepper flakes, which are easy-to-find and versatile ingredients that help give this recipe wonderful bright flavours that are savoury, spicy, and cheesy.
To give this pasta additional texture and heartiness, I added in canned (cooked) Cannellini beans (also known as white kidney beans) to this pasta. They are tender and have a nutty, earthy flavour that goes well with the sauce. Plus, these beans are protein and fiber rich.
You can substitute Cannellini beans with smaller white beans such as great northern beans or navy beans if you like.
Lastly, a little bit of green colour is added to an otherwise beige looking pasta. Baby spinach (one of my go-to ingredients) has a mild flavour, delicate texture, and it’s super good-for-you too. Spinach is an excellent source of vitamins A and K along with being a good source of iron and folate.
How to make this brown butter pasta?
Cook the pasta until just prior to al dente. Drain pasta, reserving one cup of pasta water. Full ingredient amounts and instructions in the recipe card down below.
Swirl in the butter until melted before stirring in the garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Cook until the butter gets fragrant and golden-brown in colour.
Remove from heat and stir in 1/2 cup of pasta water.
Place the pasta, white beans, spinach, and parmesan cheese into the skillet.
Using tongs, gently toss the ingredients until the cheese is melted. Add pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, if the sauce seems dry.
Plate and sprinkle the brown butter linguine with more parmesan cheese if you like. Enjoy!
Here Are Some Helpful Tips:
- Prepare the remaining ingredients as the pasta cooks because the rest of the cooking goes quickly.
- Speaking of pasta, boil the pasta a minute less than al dente. It will finish cooking to al dente texture when tossed with the brown butter sauce.
- Use a light coloured skillet. It will be easier to keep an eye on the butter as it turns from yellow to golden-brown in colour.
- Also use a skillet that has high sides and is large enough to hold and gently toss (using kitchen tongs) all the ingredients in it. You don’t want ingredients flying out the sides.
- Use freshly grated parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano) from the hard block. This cheese will melt completely, and I think it tastes better than pre-shredded cheese.
- Pre-shredded/grated cheeses often have a stabilizer or anti-caking ingredient in it, which prevents the cheese from fully melting (it might clump up instead).
Looking for more 30 minute or less pasta recipes? Check out these four!
- Black Pepper and Parmesan Spaghetti with Garlic Roasted Tomatoes
- Lemon Feta Linguine with Garlic Asparagus
- One-Pot Orzo Pasta with Italian Sausage and Kale
- Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta with Zucchini and Tomatoes
This Brown Butter Linguine:
- Is delicious comfort food: This pasta dish is so satisfying, savoury, and flavourful.
- Is quick and easy to make: It comes together in under 30 minutes and with just ten ingredients.
- Uses simple ingredients: The ingredients are (probably) easy to find at the grocery store or likely in your kitchen pantry or refrigerator right now. Who doesn’t have salt and pepper in their cupboard?
- Can be easily scaled up: This recipe serves two, but can be doubled or tripled (or more) if you want.
- Perfect to make for a quick weeknight dinner or on a lazy day.
I hope you try this recipe! If you do, please leave me a rating and comment down below or tag me on any of my social media. I’m @yay_for_food on Instagram. Please share your recipe pictures!
- 4 oz. linguine pasta
- ¼ cup (2 oz) unsalted butter
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
- ½ cup (1 oz) parmesan cheese (Parmigiano Reggiano), freshly grated, plus more for topping
- 1 cup (6 oz) canned white beans (Cannellini beans), drained and rinsed
- 1 cup (packed) baby spinach
- Boil salted water and cook pasta according to package directions, minus one minute prior to al dente. Reserve one cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.
- In a large high-sided skillet at medium heat, add the butter and swirl the pan to allow the butter melt. Decrease to low heat and then stir in the garlic, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes, until the butter foams, smells nutty, and turns a golden-brown colour *(see first note).
- Remove from heat and stir in ½ cup of reserved pasta water. Place the pasta, white beans, spinach, and parmesan cheese into the skillet.
- Using tongs, gently toss the ingredients until the cheese is melted and the spinach begins to wilt. If necessary, add pasta water, one tablespoon at a time, if sauce seems dry.
- Plate and top with more freshly grated parmesan cheese if you like. Best served immediately.
- *Use a light-coloured skillet. It’ll make it easier for you to keep an eye on the butter as it turns from yellow to golden-brown in colour.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 2 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 359 Total Fat: 5g Saturated Fat: 3g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 2g Cholesterol: 11mg Sodium: 1144mg Carbohydrates: 59g Fiber: 13g Sugar: 1g Protein: 22g