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Jan 17, 2007 10:26 PM

How to make a sage butter sauce?

I ate at an italian restaurant that serves a veal ravioli-like pasta served with a sage butter sauce. But the thing is that the sage leaves are cooked until crispy. I can't seem to duplicate this at home and don't want to burn the butter. The butter sauce also seemed to be infused with the sage flavor. I assume that this is not as simple as melting butter and cooking sage leaves in it. It probably involves clarifying the butter, correct? Or perhaps something more involved?

Does anyone have any suggestion on how to achieve a similar effect? I have some mushroom ravioli that i would like to serve with a similar preparation with walnuts. Anything you can recommend would be appreciated.

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  1. I've seen Batali fry (in the deep fryer) sage leaves. It's my guess that's what you were served. As for the sauce, it is a simple as melting butter with fresh sage leaves and holding it at a low temp for a few minutes. You might want to bruise the sage leaves before adding them.

    1. You might want to try clarifying the butter first. Then use that to infuse with sage leaves at a low temp. Then when the leaves have infused, turn the heat up a bit to brown the butter and fried the leaves more.

      Or you can always fry the leaves separately and just garnish.

      1 Reply
      1. re: OnceUponABite

        i thought the point of clarified butter was that it doesn't brown because there are no milk solids?

      2. If you melt butter with the sage leaves over med heat and just wait the leaves will crisp up and infuse the butter with flavor. Once the butter is browned to your liking (burnt butter does tsate gross) add a bit of the pasta water and the pasta and toss well. Sometimes its better to use clarified butter but an easier way is just to add a splash of oil in the pan with the butter.

        1. Make the beurre noisette (literally, "hazelnut butter"), or brown butter first, taking the butter to the medium caramel brown stage. It will smell divine.

          Add the sage leaves at this stage and cook until the butter is a deep caramel colour, about 1 minute, et voila! Sage brown butter sauce. (Caution: stand back as you GENTLY place the sage leaves into the butter; there will be some splattering). Remove the butter to a bowl immediately, as it will continue to cook if left in the saucepan.

          If desired, pass the butter sauce through a fine-mesh sieve to strain out the milk solids that have separated from the butter.

          This is a sauce that is traditionally served with pan-fried skate.

          I love to serve this over butternut squash ravioli. A taste of heaven.

          1 Reply
          1. re: FlavoursGal

            That's pretty much what I do, but I also like to add some fresh sage to the dish as well before serving - it's a nice contrast to the fried sage. Doing this with rosemary is also delicious, though I just put a branch or two in the butter, then remove before serving.

          2. heat up butter until brown. Add sage leaves.