Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Goldilocks tries to cook Pasta con Burro e Salvia

Tonight is my second attempt.  Do you know what it's like to crave a certain meal, only to try your hand at it not once but twice and then forget what it should actually taste like?  It's quite frustrating.  I might have to seek out a real Italian restaurant soon to regain the taste of it before trying again. 

First time:  the pasta was overpowering.  Too much soft-mouth-feel, not enough sage.  This was despite the fact that I used ALL the sage I bought.  All of it.  More than 30 leaves I bet.  It wasn't quite fresh pasta, but it was "special pasta" - gourmet fettucine which really was just too overpowering for the dish.  Beware the pasta which can cook in just three minutes.  Clearly fresh is better, so perhaps I didn't use enough sage or brown it enough.  This was late last week. 

Second time (tonight):  Wegmans was out of fresh sage (the idea!) so I bought powdered sage.  The pasta (regular ziti) was fine but the sage flavor itself left much to be desired.  Not to mention I probably did not brown the butter quite enough. 

Will the third time be Just Right?  There has to be a third time you know.

Here is the recipe below.  I took cues from two websites.  One was the NYTimes which I followed more closely.




Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound cut pasta, like ziti
2 tablespoons butter
30 fresh sage leaves
1 cup or more freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano


1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; salt it. Cook pasta until it is tender, but not quite done.

2. Meanwhile, place butter in a skillet or saucepan large enough to hold the cooked pasta; turn heat to medium, and add sage. Cook until butter turns nut-brown and sage shrivels, then turn heat to a minimum.

3. When the pasta is just about done, scoop out a cup of the cooking water. Drain the pasta. Immediately add it to the butter-sage mixture, and raise heat to medium. Add 3/4 cup of the water, and stir; the mixture will be loose and a little soupy. Cook for about 30 seconds, or until some of the water is absorbed and the pasta is perfectly done.

4. Stir in cheese; the sauce will become creamy. Thin it with a little more water if necessary. Season liberally with pepper and salt to taste, and serve immediately, passing more cheese at the table if you like.

(NUMBER NINE in 2010)


K said...

How about frying your sage leaves instead? You can web search on how to do that, and Leleboo (on DR.com) has a killer method she uses.

Kudos for continuing to play with the recipe, though. You're on the way to a breakthrough.

K said...

Oh, and to clarify further, you'd add those fried leaves at the very end.

After perhaps using a couple of regular sage leaves in with the butter. So you'd have two layers of sage flavor, and a whimsical crunch to boot.

Elizabeth said...

oooh, thanks K. I will try that next.

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