California and Italy share many similarities, which explains why many simple Italian dishes made with fresh ingredients are popular in the Golden State. California-Style Buttered Pasta is one dish that delectably combines the old and the new.
While red sauce is the most commonly associated with Italian pasta, in Northern Italy, tomatoes and olive oil give way to creamy butter as a popular pasta topping. Northern Italy is a major dairy region, similar to California, which is the largest producer of milk and butter in the United States.
This delectable dish, which combines cooked pasta with the rich natural flavor of California butter, couldn't be easier to make. The dish comes together as quickly as the pasta cooks.
A sprinkling of toasted bread crumbs adds a satisfying crunch. And, for a truly California twist, replace the Parmesan with grated Dry Jack. Dry Jack is an aged version of the well-known Monterey Jack, both of which were developed in California.
California-Style Buttered Pasta is hearty enough to serve as a main course with a green salad on the side, but it's also a great accompaniment to any type of meat or chicken dish. It also goes well with fish because its rich yet subtle flavors do not overpower even the most delectable fish.
This recipe works best with slightly wider pasta shapes, such as linguini or fettuccini, which provide a nice balance of pasta and butter coating. It also goes well with penne or rigatoni pasta. However, you are free to use your preferred type.
California-Style Buttered Pasta
CALIFORNIA-STYLE BUTTERED PASTA
- 1 pound 16 ounces dried or fresh linguini
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 6 tablespoons 3/4 stick California butter
- 1 cup 4 ounces freshly grated California Dry Jack or Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup toasted bread crumbs
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large (6-8 quart) pot. Season with salt and pasta.
- While the pasta cooks, cut the butter into 1-inch cubes and set aside to soften.
- When the pasta is done to your liking, drain it in a colander, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Return the drained pasta to the pot and stir in the butter, half of the grated cheese, and half of the bread crumbs. Toss and coat thoroughly. To moisten, add the reserved pasta water. Season with freshly ground black pepper, if desired.
- Transfer to a serving bowl or individual pasta bowls and top with remaining cheese and bread crumbs. Serve right away.