When it comes to pasta, I am a sucker! I like everything pasta. Plain, fancy, smothered in sauce, meatless, in soup – you name it. And because I am such a huge fan, I have made many pasta dishes over the years. One of my favorites is this incredibly unpretentious, meatless pasta that can be served as either a main or side dish. And the most amazing thing, besides of course how wonderful this pasta tastes, is how easy and inexpensive it is to prepare. (I love that!) So if you can’t think of anything to fix for dinner some evening when you only have the strength for about 20 minutes in the kitchen, give this recipe a try.

A quick word about sage. Although most grocery stores carry fresh sage leaves, you might consider growing your own sage bush. Sage is extremely easy to grow, and it over-winters very well, at least in the areas around the Pacific NW that are fairly mild. In fact, sage grows almost as well as many of our more aggressive and sinister weeds! God bless them. (And I mean that in the most sarcastic way possible!) And while you are at it, think about planting some oregano and a bay tree also. Just pay very close attention to your oregano plant. Oregano can turn against you and become as much of a problem as those darling weeds I referenced above. And I think I made myself pretty clear on how I feel about them! So keep oregano contained in a planter or in an area where it can’t become a nuisance. Think mint!

  • ¼ lb. to 1/3 lb. pasta*
  • 4 T. butter (don’t even think about using anything but real butter)
  • 8-9 fresh sage leaves, roughly chopped
  • 4 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper

While your pasta cooks to al dente’, melt butter in a medium sized sauté pan.  Cook until the butter is a light golden brown. Quickly add the chopped sage leaves and remove from heat. (I say quickly because brown butter can go to burned butter in the twinkling of an eye!) Add the lemon juice. Drain the pasta, reserving about ¼ cup of the cooking water. Carefully pour the drained pasta into the sauté pan and return to low heat. Add the cheese, a grind or two of pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the reserved cooking water. Toss to coat and let cook until water absorbed, about a minute. If pasta appears too dry, add another tablespoon or two of cooking water. Serve immediately.

*Linguini is lovely with this sauce, but pumpkin or butternut squash ravioli is absolutely divine.

Side Dish Suggestions (when serving pasta as a main dish): a crisp green salad and crusty, chewy baguette slices

Wine Pairing: Pinot Grigio