I still had a lot of the pre-Christmas herbs in water on the kitchen island, and went looking for recipes to use up the sage. From this blog, I encountered a pasta I had made previously that is a mashup of two from The Pasta Bible. I reduced this a bit in size, b/c we were also having a salad. It has three streams that come together.
Stream one: finely chop 1/2 to 1 shallot, and mince one small clove of garlic; cook gently in about 1 Tbsp butter for a couple of minutes, then add about 1/4 cup half and half and cook down a bit. Cut Fontina Valle d’Aosta into a small dice – not sure how much, between 1 and 2 oz – and slowly melt it in the cream sauce; keep warm. This actually cooked a long time, but on the very low burner on our stove it was ok for it to do that.
Stream two: cook sage leaves in another Tbsp (or more?) butter briefly (do not crisp them). I used the monster leaves – six of them – but would recommend stemming them and perhaps cutting in half crosswise, also. [More bites with sage in them, anyway!] Add halved cherry tomatoes, and cook till warmed through and slightly softened, but not mushy. I used a lot of them this time, having bought an entire basket with no other future for them. Keep warm. [Except I’ve thought of one: that foccacia where the tomatoes and olives sink in… have to try that! -140103]
Endgame: (Preheat the broiler at this point.) I poured pasta cooking water into the bowls to heat them, drained the pasta, and returned it to the pan, then mixed in the cream sauce. I served the pasta into bowls, and dotted with Gorgonzola dolcelatte from The Cheese Board and broiled till the gorgonzola melted a bit – maybe a minute, but this depends on the individual broiler and how far away the food is from it. [Originally this was a Roquefort – also excellent if you have access to a really good one.] Finally, I topped the pasta with the sage/butter/tomato sauce and served. This is a delicious dish!
I found a salad recipe online and it was really interesting and good. I used just a large handful of wild baby arugula leaves, and maybe half a large Pink Lady apple (that D cut into wedges). He also finely chopped six sage leaves. You cook the apples and sage in 1 Tbsp butter and (I used) 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice, then toss this, warm, with the arugula and some toasted walnuts. (I toasted the walnuts in a small frying pan – med-lowish heat, stirring and turning over constantly so they don’t burn.) I didn’t measure the walnuts, but it was under 1/4 cup. D broke them into quarters or smaller pieces before toasting. During dinner, I took the extra gorgonzola dolcelatte that I had taken out, but not used on the pasta, and we tried dotting it on the salad, per suggestion of the original blogger, “The Artful Desperado“. It was a great addition. We have enough ingredients to make this again, so we will, this time dotting with the sweet gorgonzola.
D could have chosen a red or white wine to go with this meal 0 white would have served the salad better, I think but red went well with the pasta. He chose a Kermit Lynch Vin de Pays Vaucluse that he picked out at Berkeley Bowl just before dinner, when we went for a case (actually 18 bottles) of wine along with a pile of last-minute food purchases before the Bowl closes at 4pm the 31st, not to reopen till the 3rd.