Tortellini with Brown Butter and Asparagus


Kelly told me about this recipe she found in one of my Mom’s magazines weeks ago. Tortellini, asparagus, brown butter… all good things, but it just kind of sounded eehhh to me. I hate(HATE) when pasta doesn’t have enough sauce. It just gets try and blah and I don’t want to eat it. I like pasta drowned in sauce. If I had to choose between the sauce and the noodles I would always, always choose the sauce. In fact, growing up I would eat a plain bowl of red sauce every Sunday night when my Mom was cooking it. Yum! My whole life I’ve been a red sauce kind of girl. Regardless of my lackluster reaction, we decided to give this pasta a go. It seemed like a nice change from our regular red sauce, it incorporates vegetables, and it looks pretty. All wins.


Well, I have to say, I was 1,000% wrong about this pasta. As wrong as any one person could be is how wrong I was. Have I stressed enough how wrong I was? Really wrong. Really, really wrong. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Ok, you get the picture. This pasta was amazing! I was shocked. It wasn’t dry. It wasn’t tasteless. It didn’t need red sauce. It was perfect as is. Well, ok, i’d change 1 little thing. Turns out, I hate tarragon. I picked it all out. It tastes like black licorice. Ever since taking 1 (10?) too many shots of sambuca I cannot stomach the smell or taste of black licorice. Ughhh makes me sick to even think about. Next time I make it I will add basil or dill or something. Definitely not tarragon. But seriously, aside from that, this was perfect. And the whole aversion to sambuca is clearly my fault, so it might work perfectly for you. It even reheated well. What more can I ask from a simple pasta recipe like this? I tell you, perfection.

Here is what you’ll need

Cook the butter, garlic, asparagus and lemon together until the butter is brown

Toss with the tortellini

You will be shocked how tasty this simple dish is!


Tortellini with Brown Butter and Asparagus

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course


  • 1 lb cheese tortellini, fresh or frozen will work
  • 1 lemon
  • 5 tbsp butter
  • 8 oz asparagus, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp arragon, chopped
  • grated parmesan cheese


  • Cook the pasta according to instructions. 
  • While the pasta is cooking zest the lemon and melt the butter in a large saute pan.
  • Add the garlic and asparagus and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add the zest and juice of 1 lemon and heat an additional 2-3 minutes.
  • The butter should be brown and the asparagus should be slightly soft.
  • Toss the pasta with the sauce and asparagus and sprinkle with tarragon and grated parmesan cheese.
Keyword Tortellini