Pasta with Butter and Parmesan

Pasta with butter and Parmesan appeals to nearly everyone. This pasta’s brilliance lies in it’s simplicity, universal appeal, and endless add-in options.

A wooden bowl filled with pasta with butter and Parmesan on a brown linen cloth.

Kids and kids-at-heart can’t resist this oh-so-simple yet ah-so-delicious spaghetti that our daughter, Celia, begs me to make for her. If by some miracle there are any leftovers, I pack them in her lunch. Given the chance, she’ll even have it for breakfast. I often serve it with roasted asparagus.–Aviva Goldfarb

What can I add to plain pasta?

We’re all for simplicity. But to lend a little more oomph to this pasta for not-so-picky palates, consider author Aviva Goldfarb’s suggestions to serve it with a pinch of black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, toasted pine nuts, canned clams, or crumbled bacon. Um, one at a time, please.

Pasta with Butter and Parmesan

  • Quick Glance
  • (10)
  • 5 M
  • 20 M
  • Serves 6 to 8
4.7/5 - 10 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue cookbook

Want it? Click it.



Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions.

After the spaghetti has been cooking for about 5 minutes, heat the butter and olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. After the butter has melted, stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, 30 to 60 seconds. Reduce the heat to low and keep warm.

Tester tip: Reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta, in case you need a little liquid to help bring everything together when combining the pasta with the garlic butter.

Drain the spaghetti, return it to the pot, and stir in the garlic butter and the salt. Toss with the parsley, if using, and serve with the Parmesan on the side. Originally published April 22, 2010.

Print RecipeBuy the SOS! The Six O'Clock Scramble to the Rescue cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This is a good weeknight staple. Easy, quick, and made from pretty much what one has on hand in the pantry. It’s quite garlicky for my liking, so the next time I make it I’ll cut the garlic back by half. I added cracked black pepper to this instead of pepperoncino and a bit of the pasta cooking water to make it a bit saucier. I also added the cheese to the pasta prior to tossing and served extra alongside, as I’m a cheese fiend. I served some grilled garlic shrimp and rapini along with this and it made for a satisfying and quick meal.

Pasta with butter is every Italian kid's favourite meal! To be honest, it is still a guilty pleasure of mine. There is nothing more comforting and it is literally one of the fastest things to cook. This is just a slightly more "adult" version with the addition of garlic and parsley, but the great thing about it is that it is simple enough to customize to your own taste. It is perfect for a weeknight...or late night...or when you're starving and can't be bothered to cook anything that requires any effort. This simple pasta with butter and Parmesan has, and always will be, a staple in our house.


#leitesculinaria on Instagram If you make this recipe, snap a photo and hashtag it #LeitesCulinaria. We'd love to see your creations on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.


  1. This is my all time favorite way to have spaghetti. I also use many different homemade (is there any other way) sauces, and they have all been adjusted and readjusted over the years to be the best they can be… all yummy, one and all. But… how can you beat just plain ol’ salty spaghetti and butter, which is all this recipe basically is, allowing that we’ll all use more or less garlic, butter, or pepper (which is absent from this recipe, along with an optional squeeze of lemon and a grate or two of fresh Parmesan) to make it our own. There is nothing wrong with keeping it simple.

Have something to say?

Then tell us. Have a picture you'd like to add to your comment? Attach it below. And as always, please take a gander at our comment policy before posting.

Rate this recipe!

Have you tried this recipe? Let us know what you think.

Upload a picture of your dish