A white wine and butter pasta sauce is such an easy go to. With the addition of garlic and parmesan you've got an additive mid week meal that will become a staple. This easy white wine and butter pasta sauce comes together in the time it takes to cook your pasta. Eating it straight out of the pan is highly encouraged!
Easy white wine and butter pasta sauce
Hello! This is the first recipe I am writing up in a little while and am coming in with a VERY simple one. I crave this kind of pasta sauce a lot, it has all the things that make a sauce delicious. The Italian purists won't be overly happy as this is definitely more of a French based sauce. We all know I am not traditional. A white wine and butter pasta sauce really is one of my most favourite things. The addition of garlic and lots of parmesan makes it crazy good. Make sure you follow all my tips and tricks below for getting a perfectly emulsified and smooth sauce.
I used a dried linguine but it will work with any shape, fresh or dried. You could try a hand rolled shape like my hand rolled gnocchi sardi or my true love orecchiette. If you would like to try some other super fast sauces try my cacio e pepe or my fast and delicious creamy nduja pasta sauce.
Ingredients for this easy white wine and butter pasta sauce
White wine - I know lots of people say that you can cook with anything but I do like to use wine I like to drink a glass of. This is only half a cup so open something you like and then you can drink it with the dinner! I generally always use a Sauvignon Blanc.
Garlic - I always use fresh garlic cloves, I really don't like the taste of minced garlic in a jar. It really doesn't take long to chop up fresh cloves.
Butter - As I explain in the recipe notes I tend to use unsalted butter in all my dishes. I like to control the seasoning myself and I find the salted butter here in New Zealand can be a touch too salty. Once you've made a sauce with butter that is too salty, not much can be done. I would always prefer to add the seasoning in myself.
Parmesan - Definitely use the best quality you can but even I use a basic supermarket one sometimes, cheese is expensive! Never use pre-grated parmesan in a bag, it's full of additives.
Pasta water - ALWAYS reserve pasta water when you drain it. Transfer the pasta straight into the sauce from the water so then the pasta water is just left sitting in the pot for you to use as you need.
Tips for getting parmesan to melt into a pasta sauce
Adding parmesan into a sauce seems like the easiest thing you could do right? But have you ever had parmesan turn into a stringy mess or clump into little balls? Nightmare. You might have seen when chefs make something like a cacio e pepe they toss the pan really quickly. It's not the easiest action to do, especially for home cooks so I like to do it another way. Firstly, your parmesan needs to be grated really finely. I have found the best method is using a little smoothie maker (one with the spinny blade) to blend it into a crumb texture. If you don't have one of those use a microplane or the star side of a box grater to get it really fine. When you add the pasta to the butter sauce, give it a good toss then level the pasta out evenly. Lower the heat to really low and then sprinkle the parmesan in a nice even layer on top. You want the parmesan hitting the pasta, not the butter so that's why it is good to get the pasta in a good flat layer at the bottom first. Let it melt gently then toss really quickly with tongs (or a spatula for short shapes) until it is all emulsified together. Serve it quickly! Make sure you watch some of my reels on instagram so you can see this process in action!
Why pasta water is your best friend!
You'll hear me harp on about the magic that is pasta water in 99% of my recipes. It really is a key ingredient in every sauce I make. The starch left behind in the water acts as a thickening agent and helps sauces cling to the pasta. I couldn't make a sauce without it. I never EVER drain my pasta in a colander, I always transfer it directly to the sauce using a spider strainer. That way the pasta pot full of water is left there for you to ladle in as you need. if you have seen my reels on instagram you'll notice my sauces are SAUCY. Pasta soaks up liquid so quickly so I add enough pasta water to make it quite liquidy. By the time I serve into bowls and take to the table it hasn't dried up. You'll get to know what the right consistency is with some practice, you can't go wrong though I promise!
Want some other sauces to try?
If you loved this easy white wine and butter pasta sauce and haven't tried my creamy tomato pasta sauce then add it to the top of your list. For a cheesy pasta sauce with a bacon twist then check out my easy cheese sauce with thyme and pancetta.
Made this recipe and loved it?
I would love love LOVE if you could leave me a review down below and let me know what you thought! I love to hear any changes or adaptions you have made too. Also if you put a photo on instagram, please tag me so I can see, it makes my day!Print
Easy white wine and butter pasta sauce
- Total Time: 20 minutes
- Yield: 2 people
An easy and additive white wine and butter pasta sauce flavoured with garlic, lots of parmesan and parsley.
Pasta of your choice, 200g dried or 300g fresh, I used spaghetti
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ cup white wine, I use a Sauvignon Blanc
70g butter, cut into four equal pieces (see notes)
¼ tsp sea salt
¼ - ½ tsp black pepper (optional)
60g parmesan, finely grated (see notes)
½ cup packed flat leaf parsley, very finely chopped
- Get a pot of well salted water on to boil and cook your pasta according to instructions. If you are using fresh pasta you will cook it when the sauce is almost ready as it won't take long. (see notes)
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan (that will fit the pasta in at the end) over medium heat.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or so, moving it around so it doesn't brown.
- Lower the heat slightly and add the wine, it will bubble up a lot.
- Cook so it is gently simmering for about 4 mins, you are wanting to reduce it down roughly by half.
- Add the butter pieces in, one at a time, letting each piece melt and whisking well in between each addition.
- You should end up with a very yellow and slightly thickened sauce at the end. You want to time your pasta cooking so the sauce isn't sitting around too long as it can separate. Keep whisking it over a low heat if your pasta isn't ready.
- Add a ¼ cup reserved pasta water and whisk vigorously. I like to whisk and shake the pan at the same time to get a nice emulsified sauce.
- Add the salt and pepper (taste the sauce first if you are worried about it being too salty etc, it depends what butter you use)
- Add the pasta straight in and toss with the sauce using tongs.
- Turn the heat down to low and sprinkle the parmesan over top of the pasta in an even layer.
- Leave it alone until it is melting on top, about 1 min, then toss it with tongs really quickly. Tossing over and over until you get a nice thick sauce.
- Add the parsley, stir and serve!
- Top with extra parmesan if you wish (I do!)
- BUTTER - I generally use unsalted butter in my recipes as I like to control the seasoning myself. Salted butters have all kinds of different ratios of salt and here in NZ I sometimes find salted butter too salty. If you use salted, leave the salt amount out and always season to taste anyway.
- PARMESAN - getting parmesan to melt into a butter sauce isn't always the easiest, have you ever ended up with stringy parmesan in a sauce? One thing that helps is the way you grate the parmesan. I use a smoothie maker to blend it into a fine crumb. If you don't have one then use a microplane or the star side of your box grater so it is really fine. Never use the regular side of your box grater and NEVER use pre grated parmesan in a pack, it's full of additives and fresh is best, always.
- PARSLEY - It's totally optional, leave it out if you don't like it. I think it adds a nice fresh touch to an otherwise quite rich sauce.
- SALT AND PEPPER - If you have made my recipes you probably know I am a big pepper fan. You can absolutely leave the pepper out if you wish. As I mention above, season to your own tastes.
- TIMING - It's always tricky timing the sauce and the pasta cooking in any recipe. This sauce takes roughly 7 - 8 mins before you add the pasta so if using dried pasta you can start the sauce after the pasta has been cooking for a couple of mins. Hope that makes sense!
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 10 mins
Melody Bell says
This was so easy and super delicious! The whole family loved it, can't wait to make it again ??
Emilie Pullar says
Thanks so much for making it Melody! It's become my quick go to for sure 🙂
This was absolutely delicious. So creamy and light. Love your recipes!
Emilie Pullar says
Yay thank you so much!!