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.
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.
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: Mac ‘N’ Cheese
And: Sicilian Pesto