Have you ever tried fried sage? It is the best thing since… well, since ever. I was introduced to fried sage many years ago at a restaurant in Italy and admittedly I was hesitant to try it. But it looked so tasty I just had to and I’m so glad I did! The sweet/savory flavor of the sage leaf is enhanced by frying it, releasing its herbal essence.
Sage only takes seconds to crisp up in a pan of either melted butter or olive oil. Don’t take your eyes off it or it might burn, and that’s not the burnt sage odor you want wafting through the kitchen.
One of my favorite recipes using fried sage is this one: Sage, Butter, & Bacon Sauce. Our local library was sponsoring a book club called “Cooking the Books” (clever, huh?) and each month the members were introduced to several cookbooks from which we chose recipes to make and bring to the next meeting. This Sage, Butter & Bacon Fettuccine recipe is from The Oregonian Cookbook.
The recipe featured in this post was created for several reasons: I had a butternut squash that I wanted to cook, and I’m thinking ahead and auditioning recipes for my third cookbook focused on wine and fourth cookbook focused on cooking for two. And there is the pandemic still going on at the time of writing this post. So no restaurant dining for us, and after eight months of cooking my own food, even I can get bored with it! So creating a new recipe is exciting.
This recipe uses pre-cooked butternut squash. Check out this article for 3-Ways to Cook Butternut Squash. TIP: I microwave the whole squash for a few minutes to slightly soften the tough skin. Then I cut it in half lengthwise, drizzle olive oil and season with salt and pepper, and cook in on a foil or parchment paper lined baking sheet at 350 degrees for about 40 to 50 minutes until softish. I then cube it or mash the squash for use in a recipe.
So let’s get cooking!
Fry sage and set aside. Some will be added to butternut sauce and some will be saved for garnish.
Mashed cooked butternut squash sautéed with onion and sage.
Add wine, vegetable broth, and milk to make butternut mixture saucier. I wanted our sauce thickish so I didn’t add too much liquid, but feel free to add more to your sauce if you want a creamier consistency.
Add cheese and melt.
And it’s dinner! I used fresh sage to garnish for the photo because… well… while I was cooking I snacked on the fried sage leaves that I was going to use for garnish. Oops.
Butternut Squash Sauce With Sage Secret
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 6-8 fresh sage leaves
- 2 cups butternut squash, cooked (cubed or mashed)
- 1/3 cup white onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup white wine, sweet or dry
- 1/4 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 pound bucatini, cooked
- 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 2-3 tablespoons parmigiano reggiano cheese, grated
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- Salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a skillet and flash fry sage for 10-15 seconds. Don't overcook! Remove from pan and set aside 2-3 leaves for garnish and chop the rest of the sage to add into the butternut sauce.
Sauté the onion in the same skillet, adding the butternut cubes or mashed mixture after the onion is translucent.
Add the wine and vegetable broth, and season with salt and pepper. Puree ingredients in the pan with an immersion blender. Add the milk at this time to thin out the sauce. Adjust liquids if necessary (a little more wine or vegetable broth as needed to attain the desired sauce consistency).
Sprinkle sauce with mozzarella cheese while still in the skillet to melt and then transfer on top of the cooked bucatini.
Plate cooked bucatini and top with butternut sage sauce. Sprinkle with parmigiano reggiano and fried sage leaves.