Sweet, salty, crispy prosciutto comes together with Garlic Butter Pasta for a stunning 20-minute pasta dish that is packed with flavor and texture!
The best dishes don't have to be complicated! When you use quality, fresh ingredients you can have an impressive dish that is a really simple recipe to make! And this uses just 8 ingredients for a restaurant-quality meal that your whole family will love!
This garlic butter sauce is similar to what I use for Garlic Butter Wings, but it has extra spices and some starchy pasta water.
It is just the right combination to coat the pasta without being dry, and the crispy prosciutto adds a salty crunch that makes this dish so addicting! This is my new favorite easy pasta recipe!
For more easy pasta dinners, try this One Pot Pasta or Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta. Both are great for busy weeknights! And for flavor a little more robust, you'll love this Cheese Tortellini and Chicken recipe!
- Pasta - I used Bucatini pasta for this recipe, which is a thick spaghetti-type noodle that is hollow in the center. Spaghetti, linguini, or angel hair can also be used. I have even made this with Gemelli and it was delicious!
- Prosciutto - Prosciutto is similar to bacon but it is salt-cured for a year or more. And I prefer it over bacon in recipes because it does not have nitrates. It is both sweet and salty, and provides an addictive crunch to this recipe!
- Starchy Water - The sauce is made with pasta water to create thickness and help bind the pasta and sauce together.
- Garlic - To keep this easy, I use minced garlic in this recipe. If you have a good garlic press you know how simple mincing garlic can be! If you do not own a garlic press, just peel and slice the garlic. The flavor is more intense with minced garlic, so I recommend adding 2 additional cloves if slicing.
- Parmesan Cheese - Freshly grated Parmesan will produce the creamiest texture. You can grate your Parmesan in advance if you wish, but I recommend against using pre-shredded Parmesan as it has additives that dry the Parmesan to keep it from sticking
- Fresh Oregano - If you do not have fresh oregano then replace it with 1 teaspoon of dried oregano or Italian seasoning. Or you can use fresh basil or other fresh herbs, if you prefer.
Step One: Crisp the Prosciutto
Lay the prosciutto on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake at 400°F (200°C) for 8-12 minutes.
Leave some space between each strip of prosciutto. This will help them crisp up nicely.
Step Two: Cook the Pasta
This pasta is cooked with less water than you may typically use, as you want the pasta starch to be concentrated. So you will add a pound of pasta to an 8 cup pot of water.
Because there is less water you need to stir it often so that the pasta does not stick together. Cook according to the package instructions for al dente pasta.
Before draining the pasta, reserve 1 ½ cups to use in the sauce. Resist the urge to reserve this water early! The longer the pasta cooks the more starch it releases, and you want all of the starch that you can get!
Step Three: Prepare Garlic Butter
Once your pasta is cooked, the rest of this dish comes together quickly! I find it helpful to have all of the ingredients prepped and next to the stove before moving on to the garlic butter.
Add garlic and crushed red pepper to melted butter. Once you smell the garlic, it's time to add the oregano.
Stir the garlic butter frequently, and watch it carefully. Garlic will become bitter if it burns, so you do not want to overcook it.
Step Three: Stir in Pasta Water
Add a cup of the pasta water, setting the other ½ cup aside.
The sauce will bubble. Stir and cook the sauce for 1 minute.
Step Four: Toss in the Pasta
It is easiest to get the pasta well-coated with the sauce when you add it in two parts.
Add half of the hot pasta and use tongs to toss it in the sauce, then add the remaining pasta.
Step Five: Finish with Parmesan & Prosciutto
Add the Parmesan cheese and work quickly to toss it into the sauce. Your goal is to have it distributed throughout the sauce before it fully melts so that you don't end up with big clumps.
You can toss the prosciutto into the pasta in the pan, or top each individual serving once it is plated. I like it mixed into the pasta so that you get a little bit of prosciutto with every bite!
Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley, if you'd like.
Because this has prosciutto, it works perfectly as a main dish! Serve alongside a salad like the Spinach Caprese Salad or Kale Crunch Salad. Or enjoy it with a green vegetable, like broccoli or steamed asparagus.
Garlic butter noodles also make a delicious side dish, when served with grilled chicken or steak. It would also pair beautifully with crab cakes.
Add some vegetables to turn this into an easy one-pot meal! You could saute some mushrooms with the garlic, or add peas or spinach with the pasta and cook for several minutes before finishing with the Parmesan cheese and prosciutto. You've got a complete meal!
Refrigerate your Garlic Butter Pasta in airtight containers for 3-5 days. The prosciutto can be stored separately in a zip-top bag if you did not mix it into the pasta and is good for 3-4 days.
While this pasta is at its very best when served fresh, it does reheat well! Add just a little bit of water and reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.
For a lightened-up version of Garlic Butter Pasta, reduce the butter by up to 4 tablespoons. You can also replace the butter with olive oil for a more heart-healthy dish. And zucchini noodles or spaghetti sauce work well as a healthier pasta substitute.
Yes, it is easy to make a smaller portion of Garlic Butter Pasta! Just reduce the quantity of each ingredient by half.
Let me know how you like this recipe by leaving a review! And follow along on Instagram @stateofdinner for behind-the-scenes and to be among the first to know when new recipes post!
Garlic Butter Pasta with Crispy ProsciuttoRecipe by:
- 4 ounces prosciutto
- 1 pound Bucatini or spaghetti noodles
- 2 quarts water 8 cups
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt plus ¼ teaspoon
- ½ cup butter
- 6 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or to taste
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano chopped, or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Lay the prosciutto strips onto the baking sheet with some space between each one. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the edges are brown.
- Remove from the oven and cool completely, then break into pieces.
Garlic Butter Pasta
- While the prosciutto is cooking, Bring 8 cups of water to a boil in a large pan. Add the pasta and salt and stir well. Cook according to package directions for al dente pasta, stirring occasionally.
- When pasta has reached al dente, tip the pan and scoop out 1 ½ cups of the pasta water, then drain the rest of the water from the pasta. Do not rinse the pasta.
- Melt butter in a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook for 60 seconds.
- Add the oregano and cook until the garlic browns. Be careful not to burn the garlic, or it will become bitter.
- Add 1 cup of pasta water to the garlic butter. It will bubble. Stir and let it cook together for about a minute.
- Add half of the pasta to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce. Then add the remaining pasta and toss together. If it seems dry, add the remaining reserved pasta water.
- Sprinkle the Parmesan over the pasta and toss to distribute the Parmesan throughout the pasta.
- Just before serving, toss the crispy prosciutto into the pasta. Alternatively, you can add the prosciutto on top of the pasta once it has been plated. Garnish with chopped parsley and additional Parmesan cheese, if desired.