Brown Butter With Ham & Cheese Pasta


  • 500g Penne Pasta
  • 1 large lemon – zested and juiced
  • 1 cup grated Emmental cheese (can substitute with Gouda)
  • 250g chopped ham
  • ½ cup salted butter
  • ½ tsp Salt
  • 1tsp course pepper



  1. Heat a pot of generously-salted water until it is boiling.  Add the pasta it is shy of al dente and drain the pasta water, reserving 2 cups of the pasta water.
  2. At the same time of boiling the pasta, start browning the butter in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Stir the butter frequently until it begins to foam.  Add in the lemon zest, the pepper and continue cooking the butter, whilst still stirring, until it starts to turn golden brown and smells toasty.  Keep an eye on the butter as it can burn very quickly.
  3. Pour the pasta water into the brown butter mixture.  Let the mixture simmer and reduce for a few minutes until it has thickened slightly, stirring occasionally.  Add in the cheese, ham and lemon juice and stir until combined.
  4. Add the pasta into the brown butter sauce and toss it gently until the sauce coats the pasta evenly.  (If the sauce seems too dry, just add in a little bit of the pasta water that is remaining to ensure that pasta is coated well.)
  5. Season with extra salt and pepper, if needed.

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