Recipe: Lemon Caper Brown Butter Ravioli

updated May 1, 2019
Lemon Caper Brown Butter Ravioli

A fast and fancy recipe for cheese ravioli tossed in a rich lemon caper brown butter sauce.


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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

This ravioli tastes like a pasta you’d order at a fancy Italian restaurant and pay $25 for. If that’s not high enough praise for this recipe, I don’t know what is. Cheese ravioli bathed in a nutty brown butter sauce that’s brightened with lemon juice and flecked with briny, crispy fried capers is a winning equation and it also happens to be one of the least fussy pastas you can make. It’s the epitome of fast and fancy — fit for having friends over or a mid-week meal that deserves a little something special.

(Image credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Design: Kath Nash)

A Jazzed-Up Brown Butter Sauce Is the Secret to Fast & Fancy Ravioli

Brown butter truly is a one-ingredient sauce that makes pretty much anything fancier. If you’re willing to add a few more ingredients to the skillet, however, you’ll be greatly rewarded. Toss a handful of capers into the butter as it cooks and they’ll fry up to be crisp, briny bites that provide intrigue. And while the nutty richness of brown butter is easy to love, it lacks acidity. Adding a big squeeze of lemon juice to it solves this problem and the result is a more complex, balanced sauce that was really no more difficult to make.

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Pasta Dinner Playbook

You know that feeling of nailing dinner? Despite the busy schedule, even when you feel like the fridge is empty, and especially on those nights when you really don’t want to cook? Us too, and that’s because we’ve got a bunch of smart ideas up our sleeves that help us meet any dinner challenge.

In this series, we’re showing you what dinner plays to use when pasta’s on the menu. You’ll find quick, one-pot meals, fast & fancy ravioli dinners, and game-changing grocery store shortcuts to make dinner an easy win.

Lemon Caper Brown Butter Ravioli

A fast and fancy recipe for cheese ravioli tossed in a rich lemon caper brown butter sauce.

Serves 4

Nutritional Info


  • 2

    (9-ounce) packages fresh cheese ravioli

  • 8 tablespoons

    (1 stick) unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoons

    drained capers

  • 3 tablespoons

    freshly squeezed lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

  • 2 tablespoons

    chopped fresh parsley leaves

  • 1/2 cup

    shaved Parmesan cheese


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the cheese ravioli and cook according to package instructions until al dente. Meanwhile, start the sauce.

  2. Melt the butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the capers. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter browns and the capers crisp and pop open, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice.

  3. When the ravioli is ready, use a spider or slotted spoon to transfer it to the frying pan. Add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water and simmer over medium heat, tossing gently, until the sauce has thickened a bit and evenly coats the pasta, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the chopped parsley and toss gently. Transfer to serving bowls and top with the shaved Parmesan.

Recipe Notes

Using frozen ravioli: Uncooked packages of cheese ravioli can be frozen for up to 2 months. Cook the ravioli frozen, adding an extra minute or so of cooking time.

Storage: Leftovers will keep in an airtight container the refrigerator for up to 3 days.