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

Ingredients:

  • 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

Preparation:

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

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Oat Scones with Cranberries and Walnuts

scones

“I said a bite, not half.” Sometimes my husband can be a pig.

“I, um, uh,” Brian kept chewing. “I actually like this.”

“So did I.” I turned, walked back into Amy’s Bread at Chelsea Markets at 15th Street. Before the Meat District became upscale, I worked just across the street in my family’s printing business. My family sold the building, and I went into food. Now I was happily back enjoying one of the great food districts in New York City.

In line at Amy’s, I decide that this time I would buy my own private damn scone, and I would not share it. I still can’t believe it: outside the man was eating cranberries and walnuts and rolled outs.

Scone in hand, my anger had subsided. I went back to him and checked for fever. He would not eat a healthy thing unless there was something wrong. Mild fever. I didn’t even bother with an aspirin.

There is nothing, nothing wrong with these absolutely wonderful sweet scones from Amy. I’m presenting the recipe as written in The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread. At home, I’ve baked my own and allowed my imagination to flow: instead of cranberries and walnuts I have used raisins and slivered almonds.

Amy emphasizes toasting the nuts before adding to the mix. That’s very important here. You need a strong nut flavor to compete with inherent taste of the oats.

Oat Scones with Cranberries and Walnuts

Yield: 12 large scones

Ingredients:

  • 1 ¾ cups + 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher slat
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, cold, in ½-inch dice
  • 2 ½ cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ⅞ cup dried cranberries
  • ¾ cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • Turbinado sugar for sprinkling on top

 

Preparation:

Position one rack in the top third of the oven, one rack in the bottom third of the oven, and preheat the oven to 400⁰F. Line the two 12 x 17 inch sheet pan with baking parchment.

In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the 2 flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda and process them for 5 seconds, until they are just combined. Add the butter and process again for 10 top 15 seconds, until the mixture looks like coarse meal. The largest pieces of butter should be about the size of tiny peas (if you don’t have a food processor, mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl with wire whisk and cut in the cold butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives). The butter should be suspended in tiny granules throughout the flour, not rubbed into it to make a doubly mass. Transfer this mixture to a large bowl and stir in the oats, cranberries, and walnuts until they are evenly distributed.

In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and egg. Remove ½ cup of this mixture and set it aside. Pour the remaining liquid over the dry ingredients and lightly and briefly stir them together, just until everything is barely moistened. It’s fine if there is a still a little bit of unmoistened flour in the bottom of the bowl. Don’t’ over mix or your scones will be heavy and doughy. This dough won’t be a single cohesive mass. It should look more like moistened clumps of flour and fruit.

Using your hands, drop free-form portions of dough about 3 ½ inches in diameter on the prepared baking sheets. Evenly space 6 scones on each sheet. Don’t try to press them down or squeeze them together — they should look like irregular mounds or clumps. Using a pastry brush, dab the reserved buttermilk/egg mixture generously all over the tops the scones and sprinkle them lightly with Turbinado sugar.

Place on pan on each oven rack and bake for 1 5minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375⁰F and rotate the pans from top to bottom. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer, until the scones area deep golden brown on both the top and bottom. A toothpick inserted in the center of a scone should come out clean. Remove the scones from the pans to cool on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They’re best if eaten within 2 days. [That will not be a problem.]

Source: The Sweeter Side of Amy’s Bread by Amy Scherber and Toy Kim Dupree<