A Delectable Sauce in Minutes
A brown butter sauce with sage is an exceptional choice for any pasta dish or even other culinary creations. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare, making it both quick and easy. When you brown butter, it develops a delightful nutty flavor, and when combined with crispy sage, it reaches a whole new level of deliciousness. This 10-minute brown butter sauce is my go-to for pasta and complements any shape perfectly.
The Delight of Sage Butter
Hello! Today, I want to share a separate recipe for sage butter. It deserves its own spotlight, allowing us to delve deep into the details. Sage butter sauce is incredibly easy to make, and I’m here to provide you with all the tips and tricks you need to master this 10-minute brown butter sauce for pasta on your first try.
My Affinity for Brown Butter
As you can tell from my name, I’m a huge fan of brown butter (but never burnt butter!). Browning butter transforms it completely, turning it into a delectable, foamy, nutty sauce. The French truly discovered something remarkable here. It pairs beautifully with pasta, fish, vegetables, or anything else you desire.
For this recipe, I used homemade pappardelle. However, sage butter is also an ideal companion for filled pasta. Be sure to check out my recipe for spinach and ricotta agnolotti in a sage butter.
Unveiling the Secrets of Brown Butter
What exactly is brown butter? It’s simple! Brown butter is the result of melting butter until the milk solids separate and turn brown. Some of the water also evaporates during the process, so you may end up with slightly less butter than you started with. It’s a straightforward technique that creates a rich, nutty taste that is simply perfect for pasta. You may have encountered this delight in baking, for example, in The Cloudy Kitchen’s Brown Butter Choc Chip Cookies. When browning butter, there are distinct stages to be aware of.
First, the butter melts and begins to sizzle, becoming loud and crackly with larger bubbles. Then, it quiets down and starts to foam on the surface. This is the critical stage where you need to pay close attention. It can be challenging to see what’s happening beneath the foam, so I suggest swirling the pan or using a spatula to ensure that the brown bits don’t become too dark!
The Choice Ingredients
To create this exemplary brown butter sauce, you’ll need:
- Butter: You can use salted or unsalted butter. However, I personally prefer unsalted butter because it allows me to control the seasoning. Different butter brands vary in their salt content, and some may taste overly salty. If you have a salted butter that you love, feel free to use that instead.
- Sage: While you can use other herbs, sage is the classic choice for a reason. However, if you’re not a fan of sage, you can omit it altogether!
Enhance Your Sage Butter Creations
To take your sage butter to the next level, consider adding these delicious extras:
- Walnuts: I absolutely adore adding walnuts to sage butter. Their toasty flavor complements the sauce perfectly. Add the nuts at the same time as the sage, allowing them to toast in the butter. They add a delightful texture to any pasta dish. Feel free to use your favorite nuts, such as hazelnuts or pine nuts!
- Lemon Zest: If you’re familiar with my recipes, you’ll know that I have a penchant for lemon. I simply love the bright, citrusy touch it brings. A squeeze of lemon or a sprinkle of zest on top of the finished dish adds the perfect finishing touch. Add the zest just before serving.
- Black Pepper: Like my love for lemon, I’m also a pepper enthusiast. Freshly cracked black pepper enhances the flavors of any dish, in my opinion. It’s a key ingredient in my beloved Cacio e Pepe.
- Parmesan: Freshly grated Parmesan is an absolute must for me! It’s truly irreplaceable. The only exception is when the pasta sauce itself already contains a generous amount of cheese, such as my easy cheese sauce with thyme and bacon. But even then, I find it hard to resist adding more on top!
The Simple Steps to Perfect Sage Butter
Here’s how to make brown butter for your pasta in just a few easy steps:
- Cut your butter into cubes for even melting. Select your sage leaves—typically, 6 to 8 leaves per person work well.
- Melt the butter in a light-colored frypan over medium heat. When it starts to sizzle, add the sage leaves.
- Continue cooking the butter, swirling the pan to ensure even cooking.
- The butter will produce large bubbles and crackle loudly. If you feel it’s cooking too quickly, you can lower the heat.
- As the bubbles and noise subside, the butter will start to foam on top.
- Keep swirling the pan to monitor the browning process underneath the foam. We’re aiming for brown specks, not black. Remember, the butter will continue to cook even after it’s taken off the heat.
Tips for the Perfect Sage Butter
- Use a light-colored fry pan, preferably stainless steel, to easily monitor the browning process. Using a black pan will make it almost impossible to see the color change of the milk solids, increasing the risk of burning.
- Add the sage leaves at the beginning to infuse the butter with their wonderful flavor right from the start.
- Instead of using a spatula or other utensils, swirl the pan to ensure even cooking and maintain the foam.
- If possible, turn up the heat briefly at the end to create extra foam. Note that this can be risky with gas cooktops, so exercise caution.
- When spooning the butter, try to keep some foam intact on top. Skim it off with a spoon and use it as a garnish for your pasta. The foamy bubbles add a delightful visual appeal.
- Do not add your pasta directly into the butter. While I normally advocate for finishing pasta in the sauce, this is an exception. Stray pasta water can make the perfectly crispy sage leaves soggy. Instead, divide the pasta between bowls and top with the sage butter.
Explore More Buttery Delights
I must confess, many of my sauces revolve around butter. I simply can’t resist its allure. Be sure to check out my 10-minute lemon butter pasta for another quick and easy recipe. If you’re feeling adventurous, give my easy white wine and butter pasta sauce or my new 3-ingredient nduja butter pasta a try.
The Perfect Pasta Shapes for Butter Sauce
Who needs rules when it comes to pasta? Use your favorite shapes! While this recipe features pappardelle, any fresh or dried pasta will work perfectly. If you’re up for a challenge, try hand-rolled shapes, which happen to be my personal favorites. Take a look at my recipes for hand-rolled gnocchi sardi or homemade orecchiette.
This 10-minute sage butter sauce works wonders with filled pasta shapes. If you’re new to making filled pastas, I recommend starting with my triangoli with a simple ricotta filling. It’s an easy beginner shape with a quick and easy filling. For those seeking ultimate flavor, you can use a meat filling. My white pork ragu makes the best ravioli filling ever. Let it solidify in the fridge for easy handling. With a sage butter sauce, it’s absolute perfection.
Triangoli with a simple ricotta filling
White Pork Ragu
Share Your Love for Sage Butter
If you’ve tried this recipe and loved it, I would be absolutely thrilled if you could leave a review below and let me know your thoughts! I’m always eager to hear about any changes or adaptations you’ve made. If you share a photo on Instagram, please tag me so I can see it. It truly makes my day!