Our cooking lessons in Tuscany take place everywhere, but mostly in the countryside.
Here in every season you can pick this fantastic herb: the sage.
Sage it’s an easy addition to your garden, that’s why here in Tuscany (Central Italy) everyone has this marvelous plant. Furthermore it’s drought tolerant, that’s why you can pick it on Summer as well.
During their cooking lessons in Tuscany, Cuoche in Vacanza (Cooks for your Holiday) pick this plant out of the holiday homes and explain all its benefits:
- Anti-inflammatory (mouth and throat)
- Antiseptic and antibacterial (Candida albicans, Staphylococcus aureus)
- Reduces muscle tension
- Relieves indigestion (my Granny often prepared a sage infusion)
A part from the numerous benefits, one of the best uses of sage is in the Kitchen. So, thanks to the soil properties, here in Central Italy we have a lots of dishes “sage-based”, from Saltimbocca alla Romana, to the most successful sauce in our cooking lessons in Tuscany: Butter and Crispy Sage!
As my Granny used to say: “Simple is not Easy”, well this is the secret of this sauce where eveything is simple, but we must respect the steps, watch carefully the butter and sage leaves while changing colour (anyway it’s a so short time…5/7 minutes about).
This delicious sauce is perfect for dressing fresh homemade pasta like Potatoes Gnocchi, Ricotta Gnocchi, Gnudi, Tortelli Maremmani, Tagliatelle and Ravioli. The sage flavor is intense and gives an impressive touch and a great taste to a “dried pasta” as well. Dried pasta is the common one (De Cecco, Barilla…) that you can buy to the supermarket. It’s often in a box and this kind of pasta is without egg; just semola and flour.
Our students and customers in our cooking lessons in Tuscany often ask for a course fresh handmade pasta based.
To pass down our tips and our grannies secrets, we need to make fast recipes, because fresh ingredients are the protagonists, though few. Well, Butter and Crispy Sage sauce is faster than the time to cook pasta. But you know this always happens, when you cook with fresh and seasonal ingredients.
- As you can see from pictures, the sauce is “brown dotted”, well this is a caratheristic of this sauce; it happens when sage is cooking with butter; be careful that these brown dots don’t become “black”. Sage has to be “Crispy”, anyway is always better having a no crispy sage than a burnt sauce. This is the most difficult step, because you know that butter has a very low smoke point. In this regard I suggest you to put some extra virgin olive oil in the pan with the butter, it elevates the smoke point of butter and you’ll be sure to make a tasteful sauce without concerns.
- To obtain Crispy sage you have to dry well the leaves once washed (I use kitchen paper) and once they’re in the melt butter you’ve to watch they changing color, from green to grey, without touching them. You’ll see that leaves begin to crinkle. Well, at this point you can turn off the heat leaving them in the sauce pan. To be sure they’re crispy, you can taste one leave once turned off the heat. (Anyway I’m writing all steps in the below recipe)
Have you already tried to make Butter and Crispy sage sauce? How did it taste?
Are you coming in Italy and you’d like partecipating in our cooking lessons in Tuscany?
Have you some questions for us? I’m at your disposal!
Please leave a comment or contact us… I’ll answer you quickly!
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 16 sage leaves (12 if they're large)
- 1 oz (30 gr) grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano reggiano Cheese
- Pour the oil in a sauce pan and melt the butter
- as it's melted add the leaves and mix with a wooden spoon
- let it cook until "noisette" (golden brown color); you'll see typical brown dots
- Sage leaves will change color from green to grey and they'll begin to crinkle
- Touch softly the leaves with a teaspoon so that you can be sure they're crispy
- Turn off the heat, wait 1 minute and take off the leaves from the sauce pan (I use a teaspoon).
- Put the leaves on a small plate.
- Cook the Pasta in salted boiling water (if fresh egg pasta, let it cook just 4 minutes).
- Drain pasta and immediately dress it with the melted butter, add the grated cheese and... toss to coat (hope this is the right sentence 😀 )
- Sprinkle with crispy sage on the top.
- So so delicious my friends!