Suzi's Blog

Butter, Fresh Sage and Walnut Sauce from Lidia Bastianich

With Thanksgiving behind us, but with frost on the ground, we can all use some lighter food with an autumn touch. Here’s a pasta sauce from Lidia’s Family Table that is deliciously different. This Butter, Fresh Sage, and Walnut Sauce is lovely over many pasta choices. Lydia’s book has recipes for freshly homemade walnut-flavored pasta, and you can consult that book for her exceptional recipe idea [we will blog one of the recipes later this week!].

This sauce works well on store-bought spaghetti and I think it would make for spectacular fettuccini. Pair it with a rich Italian red and salad for a comfy meal before your fireplace.

Some Italian sauces need hours to achieve greatness. This one requires just a few minutes to prepare, so you can easily experiment and enjoy this treat.

You should scan Family Table and really consider adding it to your bookshelf. The recipes are, of course, very authentic, wonderfully written, and will provide you a bevy of new recipe ideas including:

  • Skillet Green Beans with Gorgonzola
  • Roast Pork Shoulder with Roasted Vegetables
  • Cooked Carrot Salad with Pine Nuts and Raisins

Butter, Fresh Sage and Walnut Sauce

Yield: for one pound of pasta


  • 8 tablespoons [1 stick] butter
  • 6 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • Hot water from pasta-cooking pot
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano


Melt the butter over medium-high heat in the skillet, and scatter the sage leaves around the pan.

When the butter begins to sizzle, drop the chopped walnuts in a hot spot. Toast them, stirring in the butter for a minute or so, until they start to turn light brown.

Ladle in 1 cup of pasta-cooking water. Cook at an active simmer for about 3 minutes, to develop flavor and thicken the sauce.

Finish sauce with the cooked pasta, tossing and cooking together over low heat. Off the heat, toss pasta with the freshly grated cheese just before serving.

Source: Lidia’s Family Table by Lidia Bastianich

Cilantro Sauce

cilantro sauce on roasted turkey breast
Cilantro is a lively herb that we mostly encounter diced up in salsa or in guacamole. The sharp flavor is unmistakable. Cooked cilantro? That’s a much more rare experience, yet this sauce will convince you of some hidden flavor powers of cilantro.

This sauce is a thick, dense amalgam of cilantro and chicken-based stock. It has a deep, almost earthy flavor. Originally, this sauce was recommended for roasted chicken breasts, but we served it on turkey breast [see yesterday’s post for a turkey breast recipe].

Beyond poultry, this sauce would work brilliantly with fish, or serve as the sauce component for Mexican dish. Using this sauce in a burrito or enchilada will spark flavor buds and curiosity.

This sauce can be created in just a few minutes and, like all good leftovers, seems to be even more yummy the day after.

Cilantro Sauce

Yield: 1 ½ cup


  • 2 cups water
  • l chicken bouillon cube
  • l bunch cilantro, stemmed
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper


Follow the usual instruction for a bouillon cube: heating 2 cups of water with the cube until the cube melts. You will use only half of this mixture. Or, you can double the recipe!

In a blender, combine the cilantro, cream, and one cup of the chicken bouillon. Blend well and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes; do not brown. Whisk in the cilantro mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture boils and thickens slightly.

Season with salt and pepper.

Source: Adapted from The Seven Stars Cookbook