After a weekend road trip to visit friends in the nation’s capitol (little did we know the intrigue that was afoot as we strolled past 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on Saturday afternoon), which included the consumption of mussels in a cilantro and coconut milk sauce at Bertha’s; baseball-size crab cakes from Faidleys Seafood; home-roasted salmon followed by berries with a brown sugar, amaretto sour cream sauce; fried artichoke hearts, NY strip steak, and Belgian beer; and finally Sunday-morning eggs Benedict, by our return home on Sunday evening, we were ready for the easy comfort of a big bowl of pasta.
I suggested a recipe my trusty traveling companion had found in The NY Times a few years back – Fettucine with Butter, Peas, and Sage Sauce. Agreement. After a quick stop at the grocery store, dinner was soon in the making. My beau has himself a lovely little herb garden, and the sage is already a good 8″ high, so I had no trouble procuring the requisite 12 leaves, though it was so much fun to pluck them that we went this evening with 20.
When I returned to the kitchen, wine had been poured, water had been put up to boil, and a stick of butter was melting on the stove. The sage was tossed in with the butter to stew a little bit, and I leaned back against the counter to enjoy my wine, while my host measured parmesan, toasted some pine nuts and prepared a salad dressing.
I love cooking. And I love cooking for and with Dr. S. But there is something so very delightful about watching Dr. S. cook for me, for us. I don’t know that I will ever tire of it! (Remind me to tell you about the recent breakfast he prepared out of dinner leftovers. . .) So my contribution to this meal preparation was minimal. Other than picking the aforementioned sage leaves, I tossed the butter sauce onto the pasta, popped it in the oven, and lighted the dining room candles. Here’s what dinner looked like as it went into the oven . . .
And here’s what it looked like on the table . . .
And in case you’d like your own dish of this comforting pasta next Sunday night, here’s the recipe, courtesy of The NY Times, but with our own secret ingredient added at the end!
Fresh Fettucine with Butter, Peas, and Sage Sauce
1/2 c. butter
12 fresh sage leaves (but you can’t go wrong with more)
1 c. frozen petite peas
salt & freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. fresh fettucine
1/4 lb. Parmesan, grated (about 1 1/2 c.)
Optional: J’s secret ingredient – Truffle Salt!!!
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and put the pasta water on. Melt 1/4 c. of the butter in a small saucepan, and add the sage leaves. Cook until they’re crisp – but not burnt! When the butter begins to brown, add the peas and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add 1/4 c. water, cover the saucepan and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cook the fettucine, drain well and, in an ovenproof dish, toss with the remaining 1/4 c. of butter, 1 c. of the grated Parmesan and the pea and sage mixture. Place in the oven for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with the remaining Parmesan, and, if the idea does not offend you and you are so fortunate as to have it in your pantry, serve with truffle salt on the side!