Monday, July 20, 2009

Tortelloni in Brown Butter & Sage

Thought I'd share another one of my quick meals. I get the urge for it every now and then.

I mostly make it when Tom travels. I'll make myself a serving for dinner and keep another in the fridge for lunch the next day.

But last week I made it because we had lots of fresh sage in the garden. It's also good after Thanksgiving as way to use leftover sage. Pasta is a nice change when you tire of turkey.

I discovered brown butter and sage a long time ago at a neighborhood restaurant near our hotel in London. I was so surprised something so simple could be so good. When I make it, I feel like I am on vacation again. A mini-escape.

It's not a fancy dish, but it is so comforting. And not too heavy. It could be a first course if you made smaller portions.

Not sure how it is made officially. But this is how I make it.

The key to this dish is good quality pre-made tortelloni. I use Pork, Prosciutto and Parmesan. Sometimes I have used Chicken, or Four Cheese Tortelloni, but the chicken is too chewy and the cheese is too soft. The pork tortelloni have just the right texture --- creamy, yet firm.

Boil water and add lots of salt. Add pasta, bring back to boil then reduce heat to simmer gently. These tortelloni will cook in 4 to 5 minutes.
When you have two minutes left for the pasta, melt 2 T of butter on medium-high heat in a saucepan big enough to hold the cooked pasta.

Let the butter begin to bubble and brown around the edges. It becomes nutty smelling and tasting. But you have to work fast now. I let my butter get a little too brown. Start sooner than I did.

Add your sage leaves --- I used about 10 -- Sage is a strong herb but use as much as you wish --- and let them cook until you begin to smell the sage -- it takes just a few seconds.

Then fish out your tortelloni directly from the pot into the browned butter and sage. It will sizzle and sputter, so stand back. But adding your pasta this way will keep your butter from burning. And the pasta water that rides along will create your sauce and keep your pasta moist.

Let it cook until the pasta is coated with the brown flecks and any liquid evaporates. Just a minute or so. However, if you like the pot-sticker effect, e.g., crunchiness, you could let your tortelloni stay in one spot without turning until they are browned. But, I toss mine around.

Remove from pan and serve with lots of shredded cheese -- it will melt. We eat the sage, too, but some might find the actual leaves too pungent.

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