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Fettuccine with Sage Butter and Peas

graphic

4 servings

When sage is slowly browned in butter, it crisps, mellows and gives off a nutty and mouthwatering flavor. Sage butter makes a wonderful sauce on its own, but in this pasta dish I've tossed it with sweet garden peas and accented it with a bit of salty prosciutto. This dish is most successful when prepared with delicate fresh egg noodles, homemade if possible, but it's still worth preparing with quality dried pasta.

Ingredients:
  • 6 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh shelled garden peas, or 8 ounces frozen peas
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup small fresh sage leaves, or large sage leaves cut into 1/4-inch-wide strips
  • 3 ounces prosciutto, cut into thin strips(about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 pound fresh fettuccine, or 12 ounces dried
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Freshly ground black pepper

1. Peas. Fill a large (8-quart) pot with the water, add the salt, and bring it to a boil over high heat. Put the peas in a steamer basket and drop it in the water. Boil until the peas are bright green and crisp-tender, about 1 minute. Remove the basket to drain the peas and set them aside. If using frozen peas, cook just until warmed. Leave the water boiling for the pasta.

2. Sage butter. Melt the butter in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-low heat. Add the sage leaves and cook, stirring often until the butter begins to brown slightly and the sage gives off a nutty, toasty aroma, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the prosciutto and cook for about 1 minutes until it loses its rosy color. Add the peas and cook briefly to reheat.

3. Finishing the pasta. While you are preparing the sauce, add the pasta to the boiling water. Cook until tender but still firm, 1 to 3 minutes for fresh pasta depending on the thickness, or 7 to 10 minutes for dried. Drain the noodles and add them to the skillet. Sprinkle with the cheese and a generous grinding of black pepper and toss with tongs or 2 wooden spoons. Serve right away in warmed bowls or plates.



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