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Food: Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage Sauce

November 30, 2010

After all of the intuitive cooking and holiday eating I’ve done lately, I just wanted something simple to eat for dinner last night.  And what could be more simple than butter?

Although, if you’ve noticed, there are a lot of butter options out there now. Salted, unsalted, truffled, herbed, sea salt crystaled, local, imported, made with sheep’s milk, made with goat’s milk, etc. Most of us always have a stick or two of plain, made-for-toast butter in our fridge, but with a sauce for which it is the primary ingredient, splurge and get something nice.

for sauce/for toast

Making a brown butter and sage sauce takes just a few minutes, but timing is everything – especially if you want to include some vegetables with your meal. Most people serve this kind of sauce over a squash ravioli at this time of year, but I don’t like squash ravioli. In fact, I’m picky about rav’s in general – I prefer to use my stockpile of plain ricotta Sabella’s and add some butternut squash and rapini (also known as broccoli rabe), right as my sauce finishes. Below are some tips on making this simple sauce with the added vegetables, which, if you notice, is also a great addition to any “meatless monday” list you may have going.

Ravioli with Brown Butter and Sage Sauce, Rapini, and Butternut Squash

4 tablespoons good butter
5 sage leaves
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup chopped butternut squash
several stalks rapini, ends trimmed
grated Parmesan Reggiano, to taste

Put a pot of water on the stove to boil- you will add your ravioli (or gnocchi, which also pairs well with this sauce) to this later. At the same time, boil rapini and squash in a pot of salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and hit them with a shot of cold water to stop them from cooking into mush while you make your sauce. Drop your ravioli in your now boiling water- they should only take 5-6 minutes to cook.

cooking rapini

Melt butter over medium-low heat, then continue cooking until it becomes golden brown. Even under med-low heat, this will only take a few minutes, so be careful to keep a close watch. You want browned butter, not burned butter. Remove the pan from heat and add the sage leaves (whole), then add your lemon juice. The lemon is really just to brighten the sauce a bit- too much and it becomes bitter, so if you are worried, add the juice a little at the time and taste as you go.

browned butter with sage

Put drained rapini and squash into sauce and toss, then pour over your ravioli. Arrange into a heart shape, if you are so inclined. Top with parmesan cheese.


with rapini and squash

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