Saturday, 12 November 2011

Herbalicious Sage Burnt Butter Spaghetti

Now is the time of year when all my herb pots start coming to life again.  Having been neglected over winter, my little sage pot in particular just keeps coming back again and again.  The fresh sage leaves have now resprouted like little pieces of soft felt.  A beautiful muted green colour, they smell like menthol when I pick them.

Sage is an ancient herb, apparently with lots of medicinal properties including being good for memory (here's an interesting web page).
It took me a while to give sage burnt butter with pasta a try, mainly because I wasn’t sure I would like the richness of all the butter.  However, the process of cooking the butter until it turns a nutty brown gives it a beautiful depth of flavour.  I like to use just a little bit of butter mixed with extra virgin olive oil to cut the richness.  The fresh sage leaves cooked in it have a delicious, slightly crunchy texture and delicate flavour which also cut the richness beautifully.  I like sage burnt butter sauce best with thin spaghetti, as I find the dish can be a bit stodgy with thicker pasta or gnocchi.

This classic dish has become one of my quick and easy favourites, especially when I can use the fresh sage from my garden.   
The only thing is, this dish on its own doesn’t have the freshness of vegetables which I sometimes crave.  So the last time I made it, I served it with a simple but lovely salad - cherry tomatoes, sprinkled with a little salt and pepper, dressed with some red wine vinegar and more extra virgin olive oil.  
Here is my recipe.
Serves 2
150g thin spaghetti pasta
½ cup fresh sage leaves, loosely packed
25g butter
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated

1.       Place the spaghetti in a large pot of salted boiling water and cook until al dente (about 10 minutes).
2.       While the spaghetti is cooking, place the olive oil and butter in a small saucepan.  Once the butter is melted, add the sage leaves.  Keep cooking until the butter just turns brown (watch it carefully and be careful not to overcook it).
3.       By this time, the spaghetti should be cooked.  Drain it and place it back in the pot to keep warm.  Add the sage burnt butter sauce and mix through the cooked spaghetti.
4.       Serve the spaghetti into two bowls, and scatter with the grated parmesan cheese.  Serve immediately.
5.       Accompany with a simple salad of fresh tomatoes or greens if desired.
So tell me, do you like to grow your own herbs?  And what’s your favourite recipe using them?


  1. I absolutely love making these simple pasta dishes especially for weeknight dinners. It is simple and yet you can always taste the one or two key ingredients with the absence of any heavy sauce.

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