Sage and Walnut Tagliatelle

An easy pasta made luxurious with a copious amount of browned butter.
An easy pasta made luxurious with a copious amount of browned butter.

If Julia Child were still with us, no doubt she would heartily approve of “Sage and Walnut Tagliatelle.”

That’s because it is a total butter bomb.

In the best of ways, of course.

This simple pasta dish, egg noodles get coated in plenty of browned butter infused with sage leaves turned crisp and aromatic, and tossed with crunchy toasted walnuts.

The recipe is from the new “Old World Italian: Recipes and Secrets from Our Travels in Italy” (Clarkson Potter), of which I received a review copy.

The book is by Mimi Thorisson, a former model — yes, apparently not all models subsist on only mineral water and chia seeds. The creator of the food blog Manger, she lives in France with her photographer-husband (who took the winsome photos for the cookbook) and their young children.

This transportive book will make you wish you were staying in a pensione right now, and exploring all the local trattorias — or best yet, having a nonna cook for you such mouth-watering dishes as Thorriso’s versions of “Oven-Baked Eggs with Bottarga and Parsley,” “Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter, Chestnut, and Sage,” “Roast Pork with Balsamic Vinegar and Red Wine,” and “Lemon Meringue Cake.”

What I love about this pasta dish is that it comes together in minutes and doesn’t require a special trip to the grocery store, especially if you have a well-stocked pantry, and grow sage in your yard like I do.

For this dish, you use one pound of dried tagliatelle, and 12 tablespoons (a stick and a half) of butter. Hey, I wasn’t kidding when I said it was outrageously buttery. Truth be told, you could probably cut back on the butter a little bit, if you truly wanted a more austere dish.

Supple, egg tagliatelle is the perfect vehicle for this simple, silky sauce.
Supple, egg tagliatelle is the perfect vehicle for this simple, silky sauce.

After browning all that butter in a pan until it turns fragrantly nutty, add in the sage leaves and allow them to crisp up. The recipe says to chop the sage leaves beforehand, but I left them whole. You can do, either, or a mix of chopped and whole leaves.

Toss in the cooked pasta, toasted walnuts, and the grated Parmesan. Add a few grinds from the pepper mill, and you are good to go. This is a pasta you need to eat when it’s ready. Don’t let it sit around or else the butter will start to congeal and the dish will lose its elegance.

This buttery pasta may taste luxurious. But really, it’s just a slightly more gussied up version of every child’s favorite butter spaghetti. No wonder it’s such a pleaser.

Toasted walnuts add a lovely hit of crunchiness to the dish.
Toasted walnuts add a lovely hit of crunchiness to the dish.

Sage and Walnut Tagliatelle

(Serves 4 to 6)

1 pound dried tagliatelle

12 tablespoons unsalted butter

Fine sea salt

20 fresh sage leaves, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Freshly ground black pepper

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook to al dente according to the package directions. Reserving a ladle of pasta water, drain the pasta.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan (large enough to add the pasta later), melt the butter with 1 teaspoon salt over medium-high heat. When it starts to simmer, reduce the heat to medium-low and let it cook until it starts to turn golden. Add the sage leaves and cook until golden, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let the sage leaves continue to cook until slightly crispy. Add a pinch of salt. Set aside.

When the pasta is ready, heat the pan with the brown butter and sage leaves over medium heat. Stir in the walnuts. Toss in the pasta and the reserved pasta water and stir to combine. Sprinkle with the Parmesan. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.

From “Old World Italian” by Mimi Thorisson

More Cook-From-The-Pantry Pasta Recipes to Enjoy: Campanile Tuna Noodle Casserole

And: Creamy Corn Bucatini (Or Spaghetti) Bowl

And: Fettuccine with Meyer Lemon Cream

And: Fettuccine with Preserved Lemon and Roasted Garlic

And: Kimchi Mac and Cheese

And: Mac ‘N’ Cheese

And: Miso Brown Butter and Crispy Sage Pasta

And: Pasta Aglio E Olio Con Peperoncino

And: Sicilian Pesto

And: Spaghetti with Tuna and V8 Sauce

And: Wasabi Soy Sauce Pasta

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  • Butter bomb? I’m in! This looks terrific — simple, yet loaded with flavor. Butter does make everything better, doesn’t it?

  • Hi John: Butter is a true guilty pleasure! And this dish proves that. 😉

  • It doesn’t take much to wish I was staying in a pensione and exploring all the local trattorias. This pasta dish certainly will do until we get the chance to travel. Fantastic photos!

  • Hi Karen: Thanks so kindly! Yes, here’s wishing we’ll all be able to travel again in the future. 😉

  • This is exactly the type of dish we’re craving right now – a comforting pasta that simple to make with simple ingredients and an awesome flavor. Headed to check out the book. Thanks!

  • Hi MJ: Right? Who wants to make extra trips to the grocery store these days? This dish can be whipped up anytime, and truly provides a taste of Italian comfort.

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