I have long been a fangirl of brown butter. It's my secret (well, now not so secret) ingredient in my famous classic chocolate chip cookies, and there is nothing better than that toasty, rich flavor of brown butter married to carbs.
What exactly is brown butter for those of you who are unaware of this magic? Basically, you cook the butter, and then the milk solids in the butter get browned, releasing a delicious aroma that is incomparable to any candle. It can be use in sweet combinations, like with those chocolate chip cookies, or savory, like this amazing pasta I'm sharing with you guys today.
But wait a second. I have to introduce you guys to Black & Bolyard because they are the whole reason why my love for brown butter is reaching another level. These two guys, Andrew Black and Eric Bolyard, former Eleven Madison Park (yes, THAT one) chefs, wondered why a magical ingredient like brown butter wasn't pre-made and ready to be sold in stores. So, they took grassfed, non-GMO butter, sourced from a single local farm in upstate NY, and browned it into three different flavors: original, aleppo pepper, and the one we're using today, bay leaf.
So when I got the opportunity to try these brown butters out AND they were teaming up with my good ol' friends at Banza (who I wax on about here), I obviously jumped to cook, shoot, and share their special spring recipe with you guys. Sooo, this recipe was conjured up by chefs far fancier and more experienced than I!
This recipe really captures all the amazing greenness of spring and while I'm sure it'd taste fine with normal butter, it is elevated to a whole new universe with the Black & Bolyard bay leaf brown butter. I think that bay leaf is my favorite one out of the trio, thanks to this dish.
It's also super easy to make, and looks super impressive- it would make THE perfect pasta dinner dish to serve to guests with minimal effort and maximal flavor. So let's do this!
Bay Leaf Brown Butter Penne with Asparagus, Pancetta, Mushrooms
Recipe courtesy of Black & Bolyard
1 box Banza Penne
4 oz. Pancetta, diced
16 Spears Asparagus
6 oz. Cremini Mushrooms
4 each Spring Onion
3 oz. Black & Bolyard Bay Leaf Brown Butter
to taste Sherry Vinegar
to taste Black Pepper
to taste Sea Salt
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water liberally with salt.
2. Heat a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Add pancetta to the pan and stir occasionally to render the fat.
3. Meanwhile, trim and discard the bottoms off of the asparagus and cut into approximately 1 1/2" pieces. Set aside.
4. Rinse the mushrooms to remove any grit, then dry and slice into 1/4" inch pieces.
5. Once the pancetta has rendered and is slightly crisp, add the mushrooms into the same pan and begin to cook until the water is released and has evaporated. Lightly season with sea salt.
6. Clean and cut the spring onion into thin slices. Add the bottom white portion of the spring onion to the pan with mushrooms and pancetta. Reserve the sliced green tops for later. Sweat all of this down together.
7. Using a bowl, prepare an ice bath. Blanch the asparagus in the boiling water. Cook for 2-4 minutes until crisp-tender, depending on the thickness. Remove from water and shock in the ice bath to stop the cooking.
8. Drop the box of Banza pasta into the same boiling salted water and stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
9. Simultaneously, add the Black & Bolyard Bay Leaf Brown Butter in the pan containing the pancetta, mushroom, and spring onion. Add the greens of the onion now and stir to incorporate. Add asparagus and stir to incorporate.
10. When the pasta is slightly al dente, strain from the boiling water and add to pan with a few splashes of the pasta water from the pot. Cook for another minute to meld the components and toss to coat the pasta.
11. Adjust seasoning with salt and sherry vinegar in the pan, then transfer to bowls. With a peppermill, crack a generous amount of black pepper over the top of the pasta.
Thanks to my friends at Banza and Black & Bolyard for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions and reviews are my own, and I truly appreciate your support of the sponsors that keep Living Minnaly up and running!