30 Minute Garlic, Sage and Brown Butter Pasta

Garlic, Sage & Brown Butter Pasta | Fork Knife Swoon

I woke up this morning with a serious hankering for pasta. Something simple and flavorful. Before my first sips of coffee, I set a big pot on the stove to boil. The kitchen windows steamed against the grey, rainy mist outside. The pup scampered about as I looked through the pantry. Linguine. Garlic. Maybe some breadcrumbs? In the fridge I found butter, some herbs to use up. Parmesan. Definitely Parmesan.

The breadcrumbs toasted away in a big skillet. I stared at the remaining stick of butter. A brown butter sauce would be perfect…

Garlic, Sage & Brown Butter Pasta | Fork Knife Swoon

Garlic, Sage & Brown Butter Pasta | Fork Knife Swoon

Brown butter is simply butter that is cooked beyond its melting point. As it cooks, the milk solids separate from the butterfat, and begin to brown. These golden little flecks give the butter a deep amber tone, and this transformation leads to a richer, nutty flavor.

It was settled. I set about making a quick brown butter sauce with lots of garlic and sage. A few minutes of whisking and it was ready, golden-flecked and gorgeous. I tossed the warm pasta with the brown butter, and topped it with the toasted breadcrumbs, herbs, a happy dusting of Parmesan, and a pinch of red pepper flakes for good measure. A simple, comforting dinner, perfect for a chilly Winter day cooped up inside… and all before 8 a.m.!

Garlic, Sage & Brown Butter Pasta | Fork Knife Swoon

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30 Minute Garlic, Sage and Brown Butter Pasta

  • Author: Fork Knife Swoon
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins
  • Yield: 2 - 4 Servings 1x


  • 8 oz dry pasta (linguine, spaghetti, fettuccine, etc.)
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
  • optional: dried red pepper flakes, to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta al dente according to package directions, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp of the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the bread crumbs, parsley, thyme and nutmeg, and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
  3. Use a paper towel to wipe out the skillet (carefully!), and return the skillet to the burner. Add the remaining butter. When the butter melts and begins to foam, start whisking. Add the sage and garlic, and cook, whisking continuously, until the butter begins to bubble, and golden brown flecks begin to form in the bottom of the pan, about 5-8 minutes. When the butter looks just about ready (golden but not black), remove from the heat and continue whisking for another minute or so. If not using immediately for the pasta, transfer the butter to a different container, as the hot pan will continue the cooking process.
  4. Drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the skillet, and stir to combine, being sure to evenly coat the pasta with the brown butter. Season with salt and pepper. Top with the breadcrumbs and Parmesan and divide among bowls. Serve warm.


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  1. 2.12.16
    Jack said:

    Hey Laura, just wanted to leave a comment because I’ve made this pasta probably eight or so times already. It’s way too easy and everything just comes together like magic. And the flavours are always perfect. I’ve tried it with margarine, with unsalted butter, with rubbed sage, and every single time it comes out right – such a failsafe recipe. My new go-to favourite for a quick and comforting carb fix.

    Just some questions for you: how much do the red pepper flakes really add to the whole dish? I don’t own any so I omitted them, but I can’t help wondering if I’m missing a whole other flavour dimension. Also, any suggestions for the best protein/meat to pair with this or mix in? If you have a recipe with complementary spices to recommend, that’d be awesome. Thanks!

  2. 1.12.16
    gplauren said:

    This is exactly what I need – thank you! I am making it for dinner tonight – just printed out the recipe! 🙂 Can’t wait. Who doesn’t love garlic and parmesan?

    • 1.13.16
      Laura said:

      Thanks, Lauren! Hope you enjoy!

      • 1.14.16
        gplauren said:

        The pasta turned out absolutely fabulous! We all loved it! My dad is on an all juice diet but he had a little bit (oops) and said, “This is amazing. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever had before.” Even my picky older brother loved it (he liked the breadcrumbs!). The flavors were just spot on and, like my dad said, unlike any pasta I’ve ever had before! It looks and tastes so gourmet. And it really did only take half an hour, which was awesome. Just writing this in case anyone is wondering about making the recipe – you should!! It is so delicious! (I’m having leftovers today and I’m excited!)

        • 1.17.16
          Laura said:

          Thanks so much, Lauren! So glad it was a hit!

  3. 2.7.15
    Jane said:

    This is truly AMAZING!!!! So easy to make and super yummy. I served it with chicken saltimbocca and zucchini latkes. Thanks, Laura, for a wonderful recipe! Even the leftovers were delicious.

  4. 1.1.15
    Liz said:

    Sounds and looks so good. Thank you and Happy New Year!

    • 1.1.15
      Laura said:

      Thank you so much Liz! Happy New Year to you too!

  5. 3.19.14

    I have never looked up this recipe before I am even fixing dinner despite the fact it’s after 7pm. I am a fool.
    Seriously delicious and seriously quick. It is these kinds of recipes that encourage people to eat at home more often, as families when that is the case. It’s amazing how tasty the crumbs make it look.

  6. 3.4.14
    Gretchen Pickart said:

    Just made this for dinner and I added bacon (sans the nitrates). What a fabulous dinner! I was craving pasta on this cold day so this was just perfect. Thank you!!!

  7. 2.10.14

    This is gorgeous! And pasta is one of my favorite meals – I’ll have to try this soon.

    • 2.12.14
      Laura said:

      Thank you, Jordan! I hope you do 🙂

  8. 2.8.14

    From one Bolton to another… =)

    Such a beautiful site! Came across your space via Foodie Crush and your work is stunning!

    Look forward to following your creations.

    • 2.9.14
      Laura said:

      oh yay! and an L. Bolton too! 🙂

  9. 2.7.14
    cheri said:

    Oh my goodness this looks incredible, great pics!

    • 2.7.14
      Laura said:

      Thank you so much, Cheri!!

  10. 2.7.14

    Heidi sent me, and when Heidi sends me somewhere..I go 🙂 Glad I did., Amazing pics and the food is amazing!

    • 2.7.14
      Laura said:

      Oh, I’m so glad she did, and that you visited!! Thank you!

  11. 2.7.14

    This is exactly what I want with a big bottle of red wine all to myself! Thanks for sharing. So inspiring, yet so simple for me to create, too!

    • 2.7.14
      Laura said:

      Thank you so much! It really is a simple recipe – which is good when full bottles of wine are involved… 😉

  12. 2.6.14

    Brown butter pretty much rules my life, and so does pasta. The two together plus bread crumbs and parmesan is pretty much my idea of nirvana — and perfectly acceptable before 8am!

    • 2.7.14
      Laura said:

      We are SO on the same page… 🙂

  13. 2.5.14

    This sounds truly fabulous! I recently tried crisped-up breadcrumbs on top of a pasta dish and it really made it! I’m curious, though … did you actually eat your pasta dish before 8am??!

    • 2.5.14
      Laura said:

      Thank you, Helen! I’m really loving the pasta/breadcrumbs thing lately too.

      And what happens before 8am… But seriously, I had a few bites and then it was dinner 🙂

  14. 2.5.14

    This looks absolutely divine- loving the fact it only takes 30 minutes to make! I could also eat pasta every day of the week and not even get bored- it’s so versatile! 🙂

    • 2.5.14
      Laura said:

      Thanks so much, Jessica! 🙂

  15. 2.5.14

    Brown butter makes everything better. And I absolutely love it with sage. Now I seem to have a serious hankering for pasta 🙂

    • 2.5.14
      Laura said:

      Indulge your hankering!! 🙂 I could eat pasta every day, and be a very happy girl…

Hi! I'm Laura, the food-obsessed cook, writer, and photographer behind Fork Knife Swoon, where you'll find mostly sweet, seasonal recipes and stories from my Northern Virginia kitchen.

All photography and content copyright Laura Bolton ©2021, and may not be used without permission.