Leaves of fresh sage sauteéd in golden-brown butter form a classic Italian pasta sauce (see last Variation below). Our version uses ground sage, and so you can make it any time of the year. We've added a generous amount of garlic, too. Slowly cooking it in the butter mellows its pungency, but you can also use fewer cloves if you prefer.
Food & Wine JANUARY 1997
1. In a medium frying pan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally and mashing the garlic with the back of a wooden spoon, until it is soft and golden, 10 to 12 minutes. Stir in the sage, salt, and pepper.
2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the tortellini until just done, about 4 minutes for fresh and 12 minutes for frozen. Drain the pasta and return to the pot.
3. Add the butter and parsley and toss over low heat until the pasta is thoroughly coated with the butter, about 1 minute.
Variation: Ravioli with Garlic Sage Butter Sauce: Feel free to use ravioli, or any other small stuffed pasta, instead of the tortellini.
Cheese Tortellini with Garlic Sage Butter Sauce: If you prefer another stuffing, such as cheese or mushroom, by all means try it.
Tortellini with Garlic and Fresh-Sage Butter Sauce: Substitute 1 tablespoon of chopped fresh sage for the dried. Sauté until crisp but not brown, about 1 minute.
Wine Recommendation: Barbera is one of the most food-friendly Italian red wines, and it works beautifully here with the assertive sage and garlic.
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