Sage and Brown Butter Sauce

Sage and Brown Butter Sauce
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beet ravioli
Butter, sage, cheese, and poppy seeds. Perfect!

As promised, here’s the light, northern Italian sauce that will pair with the beet ravioli. We posted it separately because it’s a very traditional sauce and it will pair well with any mild-flavored filled pasta, or even just linguine or fettuccine. Keep it in mind when you need a quick, easy sauce, as it only takes 5 minutes to prepare.

This recipe, like the beet ravioli, comes from Pasta, by Gianni Scappin, Alberto Vanoli, and Francesco Tonelli, and was the sauce suggested. We really didn’t change anything (there really isn’t anything to change), except we cut it in half to be more appropriate for 2 people.

Serves 2-3.

Sage and Brown Butter sauce

Sage and Brown Butter sauce


  • 4 Tbs unsalted butter
  • 6-8 sage leaves
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) grated Grana Padano (or good quality Parmesan)
  • Poppy seeds

Abbreviated Instructions

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter with sage leaves until butter begins to brown.

Serve immediately tossed with pasta, cheese, and poppy seeds.

Ingredient discussion:

Absolutely use unsalted butter here and a very good Parmesan cheese (the stuff in the green can is not good, nor is it Parmesan), and the freshest, most fragrant sage leaves you can get, preferably home-grown. There’s so little in this traditional sauce that you just can’t skimp. Often, that’s the beauty of really good Italian cooking (any cooking actually); using the best quality ingredients in a simple way to allow them to shine and take center stage.

Procedure in detail:

There’s so little in this recipe, we’ll just provide a photo or two.

butter and sage
Two ingredients: butter and sage. And yet, it’s a very traditional sauce for pasta. Probably because it’s so good.
browned butter
Browning the butter will give it a nice nutty flavor. Be careful not to burn it.

It’s amazing how something so simple and quick can be so good. Our only complaint was that we didn’t have very good sage leaves. We need to get some sage growing in the yard, even if we just use it for this sauce. After all, imagine coming home after a long day, wanting something quick and tasty, yet satisfying; with this, you can boil up some pasta, quickly brown butter with sage, toss it with the pasta, cheese, and poppy seeds, and sit down to eat. Five stars (provided you use the best ingredients possible).

Worth the trouble?

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