Hot Ingredient: Sage

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Once used as an ancient remedy to treat anything from snakebites to seizures and just about everything in between, sage was a prized spice that was thought to have special healing powers. In fact, the Latin name for sage, salvia, means “to heal”. 

While you won’t find your doctor prescribing sage anytime soon, some studies have shown this member of the mint family to be a memory booster, and sage may also fight rheumatoid arthritis and aid digestion.

Regardless of the health benefits sage may offer, the spice can add a splash of flavor and color to your kitchen table. Slightly bitter and highly aromatic, either fresh or dried sage can be paired with rich fatty meats or used in soups, casseroles and stuffings. Sage also can be used to make a delicious brown butter sauce that is very tasty when coupled with pasta.

Be sure to use this spice sparingly as not much is needed to achieve a palatable, rather than overpowering flavor. Bon appetit!

Pasta with Roasted Butternut Squash and Shallots 

3  cups  (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
1  tablespoon  dark brown sugar
1 1/2  tablespoons  olive oil, divided
1  teaspoon  salt
1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
8  shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise (about 1/2 pound)
1  tablespoon  chopped fresh or 1 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
4  ounces  uncooked pappardelle 
1/4  cup  (1 oz) Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 475°.
Combine the squash, sugar, 2 1/2 teaspoons oil, salt, pepper, and shallots in a jelly roll pan; toss well. Bake at 475° for 20 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in sage.

While the squash mixture bakes, cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain. Place cooked pasta in a bowl. Add 2 teaspoons oil; toss well. Serve the squash mixture over pasta. Sprinkle with grated cheese.

More Sage Recipes:


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