Tag Archives: sage

Ravioli with Spicy Browned Butter and Sage Sauce

Costco’s sampling program is brilliant. Meet the 10 pounds of tilapia in my freezer, the giant box of frozen “pizza bites” and a 3-pound bag of spinach and ricotta ravioli that everybody in our house considers the D-list dinner.

This post is about how to make the best out of frozen ravioli. I’ve boiled it and then topped it with cheese, dredged it in bread crumbs and fried it, and now I’ve topped it with a spicy sage brown-butter sauce. This sauce is nutty and warm and a great twist for ravioli, tortilini and gnocci.

Sage is usually too strong for my taste, but the plant growing in our garden somehow isn’t as potent as that you buy in the store – even though the leaves are twice as big. Grant has also declared that he “loves” sage, so I always know a recipe will be a winner if I mention that sage was involved.

I adjusted this for two people and majorly reduced the salt – Giada’s original recipe must have fed a crowd because I found 1 1/2 tsp salt to be almost dish-ruining.

Ravioli with Spicy Browned Butter and Sage Sauce

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 16-18 large ravioli
  • 1/4 c. unsalted butter
  • 2 T chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • Parm-Reg cheese, or Romano

In large pot, boil ravioli in salted water until they float to the top – 5-7 min.

Meanwhile, melt butter in small saucepan and add sage, paprika and pepper flakes. Simmer until butter starts to turn brown – 2-3 min. Remove from heat and stir in salt.

To serve, drain ravioli and divide onto plates. Drizzle with browned butter sauce and top with extra fresh sage, if you have it, and shredded cheese.

There’s something really cool going on with the heat of the paprika and red pepper mixed with the sweetness of the butter and piney sage flavor moving through.

Tastes good with a cool glass of wine or a frosty beer, I must say.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

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Buttermilk Biscuits with Sage Sausage and Gravy

Sunday was wet and cold and the worst day for a 2-hour run. As Grant and I jogged through downtown, Old Salem and past churches emptying pious citizens, all I could think about was biscuits and gravy. That ultimate in comfort and soul – thick, peppery gravy spilling over spicy sausage and buttery biscuits. Knowing I had buttermilk at home, I couldn’t resist the temptation. And hey, we earned it after braving that weather.

I found a recipe in my trusty Best Recipes cookbook, although I altered it a bit. The result was a delightfully buttery biscuit that deeply pleased my Southern boyfriend.

Buttermilk Biscuits

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk, plus 4 T
  • 2 T butter, melted

Preheat oven to 450 degrees with your rack in the middle.

Place flour, powder, soda, sugar and salt in food processor and mix to combine in six 1-second pulses.

Distribute butter evenly over and pulse 12 times. Pour buttermilk over and pulse 8 to 10 times, until wet clump forms.

Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and pat into a ball. Using floured rolling pin, gently roll out to 1/2 inch thick. Use floured biscuit-cutter to cut 8-9 biscuits. Grant had a fab antique biscuit-cutter:

Place biscuits on an ungreased baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Bake until tops are light brown, 10-12 min.

Meanwhile, make the sausage and gravy…

If we’re going authentic, I only use one kind of sausage:

While biscuits bake, heat large nonskillet over medium and add hand-formed sausage patties (size and shape don’t matter, just make sure to cook through). Cook until browned on all sides, then cover and let steam until fully cooked, 5-8 min. Remove to paper towels to drain.

To drippings, add 2 T flour and whisk until well incorporated, 1 min. Whisk in about 1 c. milk and a splash of cream (if you have it – I find the all-cream kind way too rich). Reduce to low and whisk until thickened. Add a bunch of cracked pepper and salt, to taste.

To serve, you may butter your biscuits, or not…

Grant likes to put mustard on his, but I go plain, with  my sausage on the side and gravy all over. We added salted and peppered tomato slices up top, along with some hot sauce for extra flavor.

The combo was yummy and so satisfying on a dreary day.

Enjoy your next comfort meal, friends! xoxo

Baked quinoa with kale and gruyere

I used to think that quinoa was the same as tabbouleh, and then couscous and then Israeli couscous. In other words, we have a history of misunderstanding each other.

From what I can learn, it is a grain. More like a super-grain – a complete protein with amino acids, lots of fiber, iron and gluten-free. Something you can feel good about eating. Until you cover it with cheese.

Mother began raving about this dish after she served it to her Bridge group. I imagine the women taking fork-fulls in between turns of “Two no trump” and “Please pass the Pims.”

On the list of things I never thought would taste good together, here we have quinoa, sage, garlic, onion, dark greens, Gruyere and Parmesan. But somehow in the chemistry of the cooking process, each of these ingredients links arms with the others, creating a beautiful dish that one vegetable-hating friend recently called “A revelation!”

I’ve now made this twice – once as a side dish, using spinach, and once as a main course with kale from the farmers market. You can use any dark, leafy green in here.

Baked quinoa with kale and Gruyere

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. kale, washed and roughly chopped
  • 2 T EVOO
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 plump garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 c. cooked quinoa (1 c. uncooked)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 oz. Gruyere cheese, grated (3/4 c.)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. chopped fresh sage
  • 1 oz. Parmesan cheese, grated (1/4 c.)
  • Salt and pepper

To cook quinoa, rinse 1 c. in a small strainer, then place in saucepan with 2 c. Water. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce heat and simmer for 10-15 min., until all water is absorbed.

Preheat oven to 400. Oil 2-quart baking dish.

Heat large frying pan over medium-heat, add onion and cook until tender, about 5 min. Add garlic and stir 1 min. Add kale and toss to wilt. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then remove from heat.

Beat eggs in a large bowl and add 1/2 tsp. salt. Stir in quinoa, onion and kale mixture, Gruyere and sage. Add freshly ground pepper and stir. Scrape into baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan and drizzle with 1 T olive oil. Bake until browned, about 25 min. Allow to sit for 5 min. and serve.

Honestly, what doesn’t taste good with Gruyere? Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Sweet potato ravioli

One evening at the office, I quietly ate leftovers at my desk while finishing up some projects. Not five minutes later, I heard my boss yell from her office, “What smells so good?” and then the girls on the other side of the cube echoed her question.

“It’s just me and my sweet-potato ravioli with browned butter and sage sauce!”

One thing lead to another and I was soon promising to post the recipe for everyone.

I first ate this at the Pretentious Thanksgiving party. I normally hate sweet potatoes, but they are soooo good wrapped inside wanton wrappers and then drizzled with a sauce of nutty butter, earthy sage, a pinch of pepper flakes, pine nuts and fried shallots. What can’t be good with that combination of flavors? One thing everybody says is that the red pepper flakes add a nice balance to the sweetness of the sweet potato, so don’t leave those out. Also, fried shallots and toasted pine nuts are good on about anything.

Every time I make these, they take a bit of a struggle. I recommend making the ravioli the day before and then freezing them. Drop the frozen bundles into boiling water as you would any ravioli and lightly boil until done. Other than that, the sauce and fried shallots are easy.

Also, the ravioli stick together easily, so don’t cry if they tear. It will still taste wonderful. And don’t crowd the boiling water with them or they will most certainly seal together.

Taken from Epicurious, here it is:

Sweet potato ravioli with a browned-butter and sage sauce:

Ravioli

  • 2 1-pound red-skinned sweet potatoes (yams)
  • 2 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 12-ounce package wonton wrappers
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend

Fried shallots and sauce

  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large shallots, cut crosswise into thin rounds, separated into rings
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
  • 8 large fresh sage leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted

For ravioli:
Preheat oven to 400°F. Place foil on a rimmed baking sheet. Cut sweet potatoes in half lengthwise; place cut side down on baking sheet. Roast until tender, about 35 minutes; cool. Scoop potato pulp out of skins into small bowl. Spoon 11/3 cups pulp into medium bowl. (Reserve any remaining potato pulp for another use.) Add sugar and butter; mash well. Season filling with salt and pepper.

Line large baking sheet with parchment paper. Place wonton wrappers on work surface. Using pastry brush, brush wrappers with beaten egg. Place 1/2 tablespoon sweet-potato filling in center of each. Fold each wrapper diagonally over filling, forming triangle. Seal edges. Transfer to parchment-lined baking sheet. Let stand at room temperature while preparing fried shallots and sauce. (Can be made up to 5 days ahead. Freeze, then cover and keep frozen. Do not thaw before cooking.)

For fried shallots and sauce:
Heat vegetable oil in heavy small saucepan over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, fry shallots until crisp and dark brown, about 2 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer shallots to paper-towel-lined plate to drain. Cook butter in large pot over medium heat until beginning to brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Add sage and red pepper.

Meanwhile, working in batches, cook ravioli in pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Add ravioli to pot with butter sauce; toss to coat. Transfer to plates, drizzling any sauce from pot over ravioli. Top with fried shallots and pine nuts; serve immediately.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Chicken with prosciutto and sage

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I have to say “Wow” to this dish. And admit that Shanlee inspired me to make it with her blog post, in which she describes how it turned her husband, a chicken-hater, into a chicken-lover. Oh, Martha Stewart. How you make foodies out of all of us! Can I play you when someone makes your version of Julie/Julia? Heck, I should write the damn blog-turned-book-turned-movie. “Martha & Me.”

Back to why this dish works: A twist on veal saltimbocca, a Roman classic. The chicken cutlet is only lightly seasoned – in fact, rather unseasoned, and just lightly fried. But that works perfectly with the rather strong, salty flavor of the prosciutto and the amazingly powerful sage leaf that magically infuses the whole chicken breast. I usually think cooked prosciutto is too gamey, but not so in this dish.

A simple white-wine and sage sauce spooned over at the last minute adds an extra tang and richness, tying the whole thing together.

Here’s what impressed me: the prosciutto actually stayed ON the chicken when I pan-fried it! When I do this method with bacon or pancetta, it seems like the pork always falls off somehow. But not here. The thin prosciutto held onto the chicken, trapping the sage leaf inside like a pressed flower.

We really loved this and I will definitely be making this again. It would be perfect for company because it doens’t take long (30 min. total), can easily be multiplied and has wide appeal (My W-S friends? Interested?).

Ingredients:

1/4 c. flour

Kosher salt and pepper

One fresh sage leaf for every chicken breast, plus 4 more, chopped (sage keeps for weeks in the fridge)

4 chicken cutlets (I bought one package – 1.25 lbs – of “thinly sliced” chicken breasts from the store, which basically had five cutlets that I didn’t have to pound out. Use whatever you can find.)

One slice of prosciutto for every chicken cutlet (I just bought one pre-sliced package)

4 tsp. EVOO

3/4 c. dry white wine (pinot griggio?)

1/3 c. chicken stock

1 T cold butter

Method:

In a shallow bowl, stir flour, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Set aside.

Lay one sage leaf on each cutlet and wrap the prosciutto around it, pressing to seal. Dredge each cutlet in the flour and tap off excess.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat 2 tsp oil over medium. Cook 2 cutlets at a time until golden brown on each side and cooked through – about 4 min. per side for me. Remove cutlets to a plate with foil and keep warm while you add more oil and cook the rest. I put the chicken in the oven on “keep warm” while I made the sauce.

Add wine and broth to skillet and cook until reduced, 2 min. Let cool 1 min. and add butter and minced sage. Stir until melted.

To serve, Martha says to spoon the sauce on the plate, then the chicken. We served ours with toast and some couscous with almonds – even mashed potatoes would work here. A simple side salad would be nice.

Please enjoy this elegant take on a simple chicken recipe. Stay hungry, friends! xoxo

Sage & browned-butter pumpkin bread

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Pumpkin recipe challenge #7! I apologize for being so behind on posting lately, but I promise to do a better job this week…

Martha Stewart Magazine describes this recipe as such: “Fall’s classic flavor combinations come together beautifully in these little loaves.”

Indeed, Martha. Truth is, I don’t have eight small bread tins. Instead, I have one big one, which just took a little longer to bake. Other than that, and the fact that I strained the sage-browned-butter mixture, I didn’t change the recipe at all. True to her description, the subtle sage flavor is a nice balance to the sweetness of the pumpkin bread. And the browned butter gives it a nuttiness that is lovely.

Ingredients:

6 oz. unsalted butter

1/4 c. sage leaves, sliced

1 2/3 c. flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp fresh nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

1 tsp salt

1 c. canned pumpkin

1 c. brown sugar

2 large eggs.

Oven at 350. Butter and flour your loaf pan.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium-low. Add sage and cook about 8 min., until butter is browned. Strain into a bowl and set aside.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.

In another bowl, whisk pumpkin, sugar, eggs and browned butter. Add flour mixture until incorporated. Pour into pan and smooth the top.

Bake about 55 minutes, until tester comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 15 min., then take out of pan to cool completely.

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This is good with your coffee in the morning or with a dollop of whipped cream after dinner. We are big quick-bread fans in this house, and Jesse likes to buy the pumpkin bread at Krankie’s. I think he’ll now just bug me to make it every time he gets a hankering.

Yum! Enjoy, friends. xoxo