Summer Pasta with Brown Butter Tomato Sauce is THE pasta of summer! Packed with a ridiculous amount of summer veggies, salty Italian sausage and a fresh tomato butter sauce sauce, this is what pasta dreams are made of.
Otherwise known as everything but the kitchen sink pasta. Or heaven on earth pasta. Or the next pasta you can’t live without.
Obviously I had a difficult time naming this, because Summer Pasta with Brown Butter Tomato Sauce doesn’t nearly do this dish justice. What’s really going on at its root, is yes a summer pasta with brown butter tomato sauce, but it’s also silky-fresh fettuccine noodles tossed in a ridiculous amount of summer zucchini and corn, bits of semi-spicy salty Italian sausage, and fresh-from-the-garden heirloom tomatoes, all intertwined in a virtually effortless creamy sauce.
Regardless of what we call it, this is a pasta that needs to come out of your kitchen before the first fall leaves slowly float to the ground.
How to make Summer Pasta with Brown Butter Tomato Sauce
Ok, so the key to everything being cooked perfectly here is timing. Because zucchini has a tendency to overcook and corn can easily lose that sweet burst of texture if cooked too long, there’s a strict order I’d like you to follow when making this.
Here’s the breakdown:
Brown the sausage and deglaze with rosé wine: Like any dish, you want to build on flavor. By browning the sausage first, then deglazing the pan with rosé (or any dry white wine), you have a wonderful salty base in the pan that’s full of flavor.
Next, cook sauté the zucchini: While the pan is still hot from the sausage and has little remnants of brown bits, you want to essentially sear the zucchini. Once the zucchini is brown on all sides, the corn goes in for a literal minute, and just until it turns from pale yellow to a vibrant, bright yellow.
After the zucchini and corn are cooked, they’re both set aside along with the sausage, and the butter goes in to the pan. If you’ve been around here before, you know the drill with browning butter. I like to start with an extremely hot pan and let the butter melt, bubble and brown without touching it for a little while. When the edges become a deep brown, I start to swirl the pan until the brown hue creeps into all of the butter, and this intoxicatingly nutty smell develops. Once it’s gets there, it’s done.
To avoid splattering, I like to turn the heat off, THEN add the tomatoes and garlic. They’ll simmer for a few minutes, and then you’ll notice them break down and turn into a super thick sauce on their own, and at this point, we add the cream and throw the noodles into a big vat of boiling, salted water. Because fresh noodles only need a minute or two to cook, you really want to wait until the last minute to cook them.
The final step is of course tossing everything together, and don’t forget a quick seasoning check of salt and pepper!
Which actually leads me to one of the most important rules you need to follow to make this dish, or really any dish for that matter, great. SEASON AS YOU GO! This is the best advice I can give any cook, seasoning as you cook each layer is essential to a well-salted final dish. It makes all the difference in the world.
So here, you’re going to want to season the zucchini and corn as you cook them, the tomatoes, the cream sauce and then last but not least, the final product. It may seem like a lot, but it’s honestly what takes a good dish to great, and it’s something I live by.
This recipe as written serves four average eaters. We don’t eat huge portions in our family, so if you do, or if you have a family of five or six, you may want to double the recipe. And it’s easily done.
Also, you’ll probably want leftovers, because I almost cried when I went back to the kitchen to tuck the leftovers away and there wasn’t even a stray piece of corn or sausage left in the pan.
So just keep that in mind.
Now, go make this pasta, and thank me later.
Summer Pasta with Brown Butter Tomato Sauce
- 1/2 lb Italian sausage
- 1/4 cup rose wine
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 large zucchini, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1 tsp kosher sea salt, divided
- 2 ears corn, kernels removed
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 medium tomatoes, roughly chopped (keep seeds and liquid from tomatoes), about 2 cups
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 9 oz fresh fettuccine (see below for brand)
Bring a large stock pot to a rolling boil. Season liberally with salt and pepper. Get large serving dish ready.
Heat a large skillet to a medium heat. Add sausage. Use a wooden spoon to bread the sausage into small pieces. Cook until browned and cooked all the way through, about 5-6 minutes. Add wine to the pan and use wooden spoon to scrape all the little brown bits up. Cook the wine out for 1 minute. Transfer the sausage mixture to the serving dish.
Add olive oil to the same pan. Add zucchini. Once zucchini starts to brown, add 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook for another minute. Add corn, garlic and another 1/4 teaspoon salt. Saute for 1-2 minutes until garlic is soft. Transfer to serving dish with sausage.
Turn the heat on medium high. Add butter. Let the butter melt and once it begins to brown, swirl the pan. Once the butter is a deep brown and smells nutty. Turn the heat off and add tomatoes along with any accumulated juices. Turn the heat back on medium and cook until tomatoes have cooked down a bit and created a sauce, about 2-3 minutes. Add cream. Simmer until slightly thickened. Add another 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reduce heat to low.
While the cream simmers, add pasta to boiling water. Cook for 2 minutes (if using fresh, this all the time it should need to cook, but refer to the package to be sure). ROnce the pasta is done, use tongs to transfer the pasta to the sauce along with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Reserve pasta water. Toss in sauce. Add veggies and sausage to the pasta. Toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If needed use some of the reserved pasta water to create a thinner sauce.