Buttered Noodles

published Feb 18, 2022
Buttered Noodles Recipe

Turn this simple dish into a flavorful, weeknight dinner crowd-pleaser.

Serves2

Prep1 minute

Cook9 minutes

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a round red plate with buttered noodles on it and a cheese grater with parmesan on the side
Credit: Perry Santanachote

Being in a cross-cultural marriage has allowed me and my husband to open each other’s minds and palates to strange and exotic foods. For me, that’s buttered noodles. I grew up eating strong-flavored dishes, like stir-fries and curries, so I didn’t get it when he waxed nostalgic about plain noodles seasoned with nothing but butter and Parmesan cheese (although, let’s be real, it was the ‘80s so it was probably margarine). “Sometimes they were served with peas on the side, also buttered,” he said. 

As someone who eats bread only as an excuse to eat butter, I was game to try his buttered noodles. Now I find myself whipping up a pot of this simple comfort food whenever a hankering for something salty, chewy, cheesy, and buttery arises. Instead of using margarine and shelf-stable Parmesan from the green-lidded shaker, I updated the pasta with real, high-quality butter and freshly grated Parmesan, and the oldest Italian trick in the book: adding pasta cooking water to the sauce so it clings to the noodles and creates a creamy sauce. 

How to Add More Flavor to Buttered Noodles

Some people like to make their buttered noodles with just butter and noodles, but you can certainly add a little more flavor. The key is to keep it simple.

  • Liberally salt the pasta cooking water.
  • Use salted butter.
  • Drizzle a little truffle oil on top.
  • Add freshly ground black pepper to make it similar to cacio e pepe.
Credit: Perry Santanachote

What Type of Noodles Are Best for Buttered Noodles?

This recipe calls for egg noodles, which are classic for buttered noodles. However, the beauty of buttered noodles is that you can use whatever pasta your heart desires (or pantry is stocked with). For more chew, try the following:

  • Farfalle
  • Spaghetti or linguine
  • Macaroni
  • Rigatoni or penne
  • Orecchiette

How to Serve Buttered Noodles

Buttered noodles are great on their own but also go well with Swedish meatballs or anything with a gravy sauce, like chicken stroganoff or beef goulash.

Buttered Noodles Recipe

Turn this simple dish into a flavorful, weeknight dinner crowd-pleaser.

Prep time 1 minute

Cook time 9 minutes

Serves 2

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • 2 quarts

    water

  • 2 tablespoons

    kosher salt

  • 6 ounces

    dried egg noodles (3 to 4 cups, depending on width)

  • 2 tablespoons

    unsalted butter

  • 1/2 ounce

    Parmesan cheese, finely grated (about 1/4 firmly packed cup grated on a Microplane or about 2 1/2 tablespoons store-bought, optional)

  • 1 teaspoon

    chopped fresh parsley leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley (optional)

Instructions

  1. Bring 2 quarts water and 2 tablespoons kosher salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add 6 ounces egg noodles, stir once to make sure no noodles are sticking to each other, and cook according to the package directions until al dente texture, 6 to 8 minutes. Meanwhile, finely grate 1/2 ounce Parmesan cheese (about 1/4 packed cup), if using.

  2. Reserve 1/3 cup of the cooking water, then drain the noodles well. Return the noodles to the saucepan and set it over medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons unsalted butter and 3 tablespoons of the cooking water, and stir and toss until the butter melts and coats the noodles, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add more cooking water if the noodles looks dry.

  3. Divide the noodles between 2 bowls and top with the Parmesan. Garnish with 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves or 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley, if using.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Sprinkle with a little water and reheat in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat and until just heated through.