Northern Italians often prepare fresh pasta by simply tossing it with fresh sage leaves that have been browned in a healthy heap of butter. In America, Browned butter sage sauce is often highlighted in the Fall when butternut squash and pumpkin-filled pasta are in season. Italians however, love this combination and use it often throughout the year. The simple flavors of butter and herbs compliment many foods.
Today, I am making homemade compound butter. Compound butter is softened butter that has been blended with any flavorful and aromatic ingredient. It is fairly easy to make and is useful to have on hand when cooking. It can be made in advance and stored under refrigeration for a couple of weeks.
When I make compound butter, I make a few different varieties at once. Today I chose roasted garlic, roasted red onion, toasted pecan, toasted hazelnut, and fresh herb butter. I chose to use salted butter. You could use unsalted butter if you prefer. This will allow you to add salt, as desired. I am planning on pairing these varieties of compound butter with some fresh pasta.
Above, I drizzled 2 heads of garlic with some olive oil. Then, in a preheated 425-degree toaster oven I roasted the garlic for about 40 minutes until golden and caramelized. Once the garlic had cooled, I squeezed the roasted garlic into the bowl with 1/2 pound of softened butter. Then, I gently folded the garlic into the butter.
Above, I drizzled half of a red onion with olive oil. I wrapped the onion in aluminum foil and roasted it in a preheated 425-degree toaster oven for 40 minutes. Once the onion had cooled, I minced it into small pieces and gently folded it into 1/2 lb of softened butter.
Above, I toasted about 1/2 cup of pecan halves in a pre-heated 425-degree toaster oven for about 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Once the pecans had cooled, I roughly chopped the nuts and gently folded them into 1/2 pound of softened butter.
Above, I toasted about 1/2 cup of chopped hazelnuts in a preheated 425-degree toaster oven for about 5 minutes until golden brown. Once the hazelnuts had cooled, I gently folded them into 1/2 pound of softened butter.
Above, I roughly chopped a mixture of my favorite fresh herbs. Then I gently folded the herbs into 1/2 pound of softened butter.
Below, I placed each softened compound butter onto a piece of plastic film wrap. I formed the butter into a log shape and rolled the plastic wrap tightly around it. I twisted the ends of plastic closed tight.
Store the logs of compound butter in the refrigerator. The butter can also be frozen.
Check out the pasta that I have paired with the compound butters below! Click on the links to our recipe page.
-Joanne Talluto Brown