Tuscan craving

Parsley and sageLast weekend, I arrived home from swimming laps at Iowa City’s City Park pool and decided it was time for some pasta. We had perfectly delicious grilled chicken in the refrigerator and plenty of salad greens, but I had been fighting a craving for sage-butter pasta for days, and couldn’t stave it off any longer. I abandoned the arguably healthy chicken salad for some buttery carbs.

I had ravioli al burro e salvia (ravioli with sage butter) for the first time at my friend Brian’s 40th birthday party at i Ricchi in Washington D.C. The mix of rich butter and woodsy sage was revelatory, and I couldn’t believe I hadn’t encountered it before.

This is not a particularly summery dish. “Nothing says summer like a hot bowl of pasta,” Steve said, before returning to the pot for a second helping.

With the sage plant making a strong showing, I decided to throw seasonality to the wind and succumb to my cravings. But in a nod toward making this my own, I decided to throw some of the Italian parsley into the mix. The plant’s struggling a little bit, but I thought I might be able to cut a little off without too much ill effect.

Chopped parsley and sageA rough chop of the herbs, a hot colander of drained whole wheat fusilli, some butter and olive oil sizzling in the bottom of the pasta pot, and then a toss to mix everything together, and lunch was served. Ordinarily, I would have topped it with a little fresh grated parmesan, but I didn’t have the energy. The pre-shredded Romano in the refrigerator served as an able stand-in.

“Why don’t we just finish it off?” Steve said, looking longingly at the leftovers.

I suggested saving the rest for the next day. Dinner would, after all, require some sort of side dish.

Pasta with Sage and Parsley ButterPasta with Butter-Sage-Parsley Sauce

12 to 16 oz. dry pasta
A fistful of sage leaves and parsley
3 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and freshly cracked pepper
Grated Parmesan, Asiago or Romano

Cook the pasta as directed. While the pasta cooks, roughly chop the herbs. When the pasta is cooked to al dente, drain it into a colander in the sink. Let it rest there while you heat the olive oil and butter in the pasta pan. When the butter is melted and the oil-butter mix is sizzling, add the chopped herbs, stir for about 30 seconds, then turn off the heat and add the pasta. Toss until thoroughly mixed, season with salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste, and serve immediately, topped with the grated cheese.

Weekend Herb BloggingThis post is part of Weekend Herb Blogging, which is being hosted this week by Cate at Sweetnicks. Thanks, Cate, for taking on the round-up duties this week!

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7 Responses to “Tuscan craving”


  1. 1 kalyn June 11, 2006 at 8:07 am

    This sounds just fabulous. I haven’t tried whole wheat pasta, but it would be perfect for my diet. And guess what!! I’ve eaten at i Ricci too! What a fabulous place it is. I do miss that great expense account eating in D.C. but my waistline is glad I’m not doing it any more.

  2. 2 inadvertentgardener June 11, 2006 at 8:13 am

    Kalyn, I used to stay away from whole wheat pasta, but now I almost never eat any other kind. I definitely recommend giving it a try!

    :-) Genie

  3. 3 steven June 11, 2006 at 11:13 am

    There really is nothing that compares with pasta, fresh herbs and good cheese. I was just in a very funny IM exchange with a friend in Italy, I was asking him to send me some seeds for agretti and nepetella and we somehow got onto the subject of whole wheat pasta. I recieved a very stern lecture about the pasta integrale and how I’d better not serve it to an Italian at all unless it was bigoli.

  4. 4 inadvertentgardener June 12, 2006 at 5:33 am

    Steven, that’s pretty funny. Tell your friend no worries — I know better than to foist my American health-nuttiness on him!

    :-) Genie

  5. 5 sher June 13, 2006 at 1:02 am

    I know this would taste fabulous. Sage-butter tastes so good with pasta!!!

  6. 6 inadvertentgardener June 15, 2006 at 5:50 am

    It is quite the miraculous combination. Enjoy!

    Genie

  7. 7 Robert in Toronto March 24, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    I just found your wonderful sight; thanks for it. I recently ate in an excellent Calgary restaurant where they served a truffle and butter sauce over tagliatelle. I was searching for the recipe when I came across your site. Would the addition of truffles to your sage butter recipe work?


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