Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ravioletti with Sausage and Browned Sage Butter

I recently picked up the gorgeous little Frankies Spuntino cookbook but hadn't had a chance to actually try any of the recipes until yesterday. This dish seemed like exactly what I was looking for: comfort in a bowl. With exactly four days to get all my ducks in a row before leaving the country for two weeks, I was feeling a bit frantic and I needed something substantial, something soothing to calm my frayed nerves. And what better than this bordering-on-ridiculously-decadent pasta: Cavatelli with Sausage and Browned Sage Butter (except I couldn't find cavatelli at Whole Foods, so I substituted with cheese ravioletti).

In the book, the authors say that this pasta is a "10-1 favorite for what a guy will order on a first date" at their much-loved restaurant. Those are some odds. Interesting. I suppose it does have typical masculine characteristics; it's got muscle and brawn and some great meat. In other words, not only is this bowl of browned buttery goodness excellent for an early fall day when you need some food for the soul, it's also a good one to whip up for your man late at night when it's just the two of you, talking the day down over a simple homemade meal and some wine.

Try it and let me know what you think. (Disclaimer: the browning of the butter and frying of the sage leaves in this recipe causes A LOT of smoke. Turn on your vent fans or be prepared to meet the wrath of your fire alarm the way I did--oops.) xo

Ravioletti with Sausage and Browned Sage Butter
Adapted from Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion and Cooking Manual

2 links hot Italian pork sausage
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 fresh sage leaves
Freshly ground white pepper
Cheese ravioletti
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves, coarsely chopped

Put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it well. Meanwhile, put the sausages into a wide saute pan with 1/2 inch of water and turn the heat to medium. After 10 minutes, flip the sausages over and simmer them for another 5 minutes (replenish the water if it threatens to boil off). After 15 minutes, the sausages should be firm and cooked through. Remove the sausages to a cutting board (discard the water) and slice them into coins just shy of 1/2 inch.

Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and turn the heat to medium-high. After a minute, add the sausage coins in an even layer and let them cook, untouched, unstirred, unfussed with, until they're deeply browned on the first side. Flip and brown them on the other side. The browning is integral to the ultimate depth of flavor of the finished dish--don't stint on it. When the sausage is browned, remove it from the pan to a plate lined with paper towels and return the pan to the burner.

Keep the heat at medium-high and add the sage, the remaining butter, and a few twists of white pepper. Stir the butter and scrape at the browned bits on the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. After a minute or two, it should stop foaming and start to take on color. That's when you should drop the ravioletti into the boiling water. Continue to cook the butter until it's deeply browned and fragrant, about 4 minutes more, which should be just about how long it takes the ravioletti to cook.

Do not drain the ravioletti too thoroughly. The water clinging to the pasta will give the sauce body. Add it to the butter sauce along with the sausage and stir. Add the cheese, stir again, and portion the ravioletti among serving bowls. Scatter each with a few pinches of parsley. Serve immediately.


  1. I love pasta so much! Thank you!!!

  2. I'm very impressed that you had time to whip this up during your busy week. I'm a little scared to try this as I have issues with smoke alarms even when the recipe is easy, but it looks too delicious to resist.