Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Crispy Sage and Brown Butter Pasta

Serves one. Why is it that I hardly ever see a recipe that “serves one”? I only really started cooking (and loving it) when I lived on my own, and more often than not, I was cooking to serve one. Aside from learning how to cook, I was also learning to reduce recipes to the smallest serving. I didn’t want to be eating the same thing for weeks (I discovered the hard way…with two weeks of beef kaldereta) so I trained myself to shop, market, prepare, and cook for one. I got really good at it.

I never went to culinary school; I wasn’t learning to cook as a profession. I didn’t learn to cook growing up to feed a large family. I learned to cook because I was far away from home and I was hungry. My whole cooking experience, my love for food and everything about it, no matter where it is now, or where it will go in the future, started with just the one: One ravenous me. And I loved it…I reveled in it. Cooking for myself excited me…eating what I cooked excited me. I looked forward to dinner. I ate by candle light. It was a gastronomic love affair with myself. I cannot recommend this experience enough.

This is why, no matter who I cook for now, or will cook for in the future, there will always be times when my hands will itch to “serve one” again, when I will want to cook something just for me. Culinary Me Time. This is also the perfect opportunity to make dishes that I have been wanting to try, but are not really C’s cup of tea. This pasta is one such dish.

Crispy Sage and Brown Butter Pasta
(adapted from Donna Hay Magazine, issue #32)

  • 100 grams fettuccine or spaghetti noodles
  • 25 grams butter
  • Juice of ½ a lemon
  • 10-12 sage leaves
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese

- Cook pasta as per package directions in a saucepan of generously salted water. Drain and set aside.
- In a skillet, heat the butter until melted.
- Add the sage to the butter and let this fry until the sage is crispy and butter is browned.
- Stir in lemon juice, pasta, salt and pepper. Toss until combined and pasta is coated with the brown butter mixture.
- Top with freshly grated parmesan to serve.
- Serves one.

This is a very simple dish relying on a few flavor elements – the nutty-ness of the browned butter, the heady aroma of the sage, both tempered by the tang of the lemon. I really enjoy these types of pasta dishes, but if you are one who loves more complicated sauces laden with ingredients, this may not be for you. C’s taste runs towards tomato based sauces so this isn’t for him either. It’s for me :)

back to schoolThis is my entry for Weekend Herb Blogging, a fantastic event created by Kalyn of Kalyn’s Kitchen. This round is hosted by Ellie of Kitchen Wench. You can learn more about sage in the link above, or here.

You may think this quite a strange post coming at the heels of my anniversary, but every marriage is sweeter when you’ve got quality “me/alone time”…and just because C is at work, doesn’t mean I have to eat leftovers! ;)


M.Tan said...

Have you tried a dusting of nutmeg to go with the sage? They seem to be a perfect pairing in so many other dishes.

Yes, cooking for one is a scientific art. Buying enough, avoiding overbuying because it costs more to buy in smaller quantities, and stopping the mental lecture (usually your mom's voice) telling you to cook in large batches and freeze what you don't consume.

Meeta said...

Joey! This is my kind of meal. I love the simplicity but the full flavor it gives. Looks great!

Pille said...

I've made something similar, but without browning the butter. I remember it was really good, and I bet brown butter makes it even more delicious!

christine said...

Like you, I like the occasional light pastas as much as the hefty and rich ones. And you're right, you shouldn't scrimp on meals or its preparation just because you're making it for yourself!

Before I moved away, I could never imagine eating alone (especially at a restaurant) or even watching a movie along at the cinema. But I'm so grateful for the opportunity to do so, because it made me realize how much I actually do enjoy my own company. And we all need that me-time once in a while. :)

the philosphical bastard said...

this looks like something i can make myself. ahehe.

Anh said...

Joey, when I am alone, I tend to get lazy. Sometimes too busy, I even forget to eat. But as you say, I just learn to adapt.

I love this recipe. I have tried it but didn't have time for pics. Too hungry then. :D

ChichaJo said...

Hi M! The nutmeg sounds good...must try that sometime :) And yes, there are a lot of habits you need to "unlearn"...but it's all worth it to see the look on a person's face when you ask for, "One drumstick and one thigh please...oh, and can you debone them please" ;)

Hi Meeta! Sometimes simple is really best...nothing to distract from awesome flavors :)

Hi Pille! Yes, the browned butter makes it nuttier...I was thinking that adding some pine nuts might be good too :)

Hi Nens! I really love these 2-3 ingredient pastas...delicious and easy to whip up :) I'm with you...I have never had a problem with being alone, but when I moved away is really when I had my "honeymoon with me"...I had a blast! Still do :)

Hi PB! I am sure you can :)

Hi Anh! Nice to hear that you enjoyed this dish too :) I have also experienced "forgetting" to eat when I am in the middle of too many things...heehee ;)

Ellie said...

This looks delightful! I've seen this dish many a time but have never tried making it...however after seeing this mouth-watering photo, I think it may finally be about time!

Kalyn said...

Sounds just fabulous. I remember when I first tried fried sage, I was completely in love with the flavor of it. And combined with browned butter it must taste like heaven. Great recipe!

Freya and Paul said...

LDelicious, perfect pairing! The kind of thing I would cook for myself too!

Gattina said...

Joey, absolutely love that sage & butter sauce, simple yet bursting with flavor!
I feel for you :) My cooking very often bases on 1 serving... even 2 people on dining table I'm doing a la carte, as my husband and me have a totally opposite taste & preference :) :)

evinrude said...

Oh I cannot agree with you more with everything you said about cooking for one. Everything is just so true! I always think it's much harder cooking for myself because the recipes out there all seem to cater for such big groups and things such as baking just don't work with such minute quantities.

I've always liked my pasta with a mixture of sour cream and what not and yours just seem so intriguing! This shall be something to try!

Patricia Scarpin said...

Joey, you won't believe it, sweetie - I was going to make the exact same recipe last Sunday for lunch! I almost screamed when I saw this post. :)
The weather was a little cold so I ended up making risotto.

I couldn't relate more to what you wrote - I always prepare something "for one" since I want to try new things but João isn't into it much.

One more reason for me to try this pasta, your photo is more beautiful than the one in the magazine! :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Ellie! I have seen this dish around as well, and I'm glad I finally did try it :)

Hi Kalyn! I was surprised myself at how much I liked it as sage can be quite strong...but it was really delicious :) And the aroma of the butter and sage sizzling in the kitchen is hypnotic!

Hi Freya! Glad you like it! :)

Hi Gattina! Nice to hear I'm in good company :) Although I'm lucky C and I share many of the same tastes, there are certain things I like that are just not his thing...

Hi Evinrude! Heehee...what can I say...sometimes it seems like the world is biased against the single serving. But don't give up hope...it can be done! And in style too ;)

Hi Patricia! Oh my what a cool coincidence! Great minds think alike :) Now please blow a cool breeze my way because is incredibly hot here! Hehe :) And thank you for such a sweet comment on my photo...I'm thrilled!!! :)

Veron said...

The first time I had sage in pasta I was hooked. This is a phenomenal combination!

katrina said...

This sounds delicious, Joey! Big surprise that I'd love a butter sauce, huh? ;-) I like the simple pastas too. Sometimes all I want is some olive oil (or butter) and garlic with it. Though that doesn't mean I don't also enjoy the more complicated sauces.

Where did you buy the sage leaves? This recipe is actually simple enough for me to try! :-)

valentinA said...

Sometimes, Culinary Me Times are the most productive & satisfying ones because we can adjust the food according to our taste & TIME!:) You remind me of the days when I spend days cooking for myself & it's then that the love for cooking grew for me too:)

Your pasta looks uber yummy Joey, too bad it's not your hubby's cuppa tea, but I'm sure it'll be soon!:)

sher said...

I totally agree with you--all married people need to have some "me time". And making a fabulous meal like this is the perfect thing. I've always loved sage and brown butter sauce with pasta. The perfect marriage, if you ask me! :):)

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Fried sage is one of those wow experiences isn't it? Just so much better than you could imagine!
This is a perfect combo! I consider it a blessing that I can some times cook for just one, as great a blessing as cooking for two or more.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

This kind of dish is simple, but very pleasant and tasty! I love it...

ChichaJo said...

Hi Veron! It is! I'll be doing this more :)

Hi Katrina! You? Butter? The shock! ;) Olive oil, garlic, and chili...yum! You can get fresh sage at Rustans spermarket, Santis, or Salcedo market :)

Hi Valentina! Nice to hear that we have had similar experiences :) Yes, quiet time in the kitchen is very satisfiying! C leans more towards tomato based sauces...but I'm sure he'll can give it a try :)

Hi Sher! Now that I've discovered the combination I'll be sure to have it again...I really liked it! And yes, me time is important :) I cook and C goes out and kicks the ball :)

Hi Tanna! I totally agree with you :) Cooking for one is just as great a blessing as cooking for two or more...you have put it so beautifully :) I also agree that fried sage is "wow"!

Hi Rosa! Thanks! :) I think the simplicity of this dish is what makes the flavors so distinct...

Susan said...

I love this rustic pasta dish. There are few herbs as earthy and rich as sage, and crisping it makes it even better. Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

One thing's for sure I'll try this one Joey because it's so easy and good for one! Have to buy sage first! =)


ChichaJo said...

Hi Susan! I have to agree...and I will be trying it out in other preparations too :) Thanks!

Hi Rachelle! It's really easy to whip up...glad you enjoyed the post :)

Mae said...

I like browned butter. Funny, i was thinking of accompanying my garlic & parsley butter lobster with some thin linguini pasta!

Your pasta looks great. I haven't tried crispy sage. Does it mute the strong taste of sage? I love sage and onion stuffing! :)

ChichaJo said...

Hi Mae! Ooooh! That is just what this needs...some lobster :) The sage is definitely more palatable fried crisp...it's delicious! :)

Diane said...

Thanks for the recipe, sounds great, just my kind of thing, never thought of using sage.
Thanks again

ChichaJo said...

Hi Diane! Glad you liked the post - it's quite yummy and a cinch to put together :)

Anonymous said...

I have *just* scraped down my last few spoons of this pasta! Thank you so much, it was delicious, and the lemon cut the richness of the sage butter perfectly.

ChichaJo said...

Glad you enjoyed it Anon! :)