I’ve been on a real big pasta binge lately and I’ve been setting my eyes on tortellini. This tortellini with spicy brown-butter sauce is the perfect I-don’t-have-anything-in-the-fridge-but-I-need-to-make-dinner option ever. You can replace the tortellini with really any pasta you like but I would recommend pasta that holds sauce really well, such as rigatoni.
I recommend trying to line up the cook times so that the pasta is finished cooking right as the sauce has simmered for 20 minutes. Use a spider strainer to scoop the pasta straight from the pot of water to the sauce.
If you are not vegetarian and you want to add a bit of umami to the sauce, try adding two anchovies and a teaspoon of anchovy oil to the pot right before adding the capers. It will add a wonderfully rich flavor to your sauce! If you’re vegetarian and you still want a little umami party going on, add a tablespoon of red or white miso right after you reduce the heat to medium after you add the butter. Be careful not to burn the miso!
Tortellini with Spicy Brown-Butter Tomato Sauce
- Medium pot
- Large pot
- 9 ounces fresh tortellini
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 ounces nonpareil capers
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 teaspoons or more crushed red pepper
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1 15- ounce can crushed tomatoes
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of sugar
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
- Drain and rinse the capers. Peel and mince the garlic.
Start the Sauce:
- Heat the 1 tablespoon oil in a medium pot over medium high. Once very hot, add the capers and cook for 1 minute. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, being careful not to burn the garlic. Add the crushed red pepper and cook for an additional 45 seconds.
- Add the butter and stir until melted and frothy. Reduce the heat to medium and and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes or until the butter begins to turn golden brown. Reduce heat to low and pour in the crushed tomatoes and stir to incorporate into the brown butter.
- Cover the sauce and cook for 20 minutes (or until the tortellini has finished cooking). Taste and season with salt, pepper, more crushed red pepper (to taste) and a pinch of sugar if desired.
Cook the Tortellini:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare the tortellini according to package instructions. Once the tortellini is al dente, use a spider strainer to scoop out the cooked pasta and transfer it to the sauce. Add ½ cup of the reserved pasta cooking water and toss the tortellini in the sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes more or until the pasta is well-coated and glossy. Remove from heat.
- Divide the tortellini between bowls and serve with freshly grated parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Enjoy!