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Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Brown Butter Sage Sauce

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 1x


This brown butter sage sauce is rich and nutty, with an herbaceous punch from the sage! Perfect for gnocchi and ravioli.


  • 1 pound gnocchi or ravioli*
  • 6 tablespoons salted butter
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely minced
  • 3 tablespoons packed finely chopped fresh sage**
  • Zest of 1/2 lemon and 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta water and to taste


  1. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the gnocchi or ravioli and boil as indicated on the package instructions. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water, then drain the gnocchi or ravioli and return it to the pot. Toss with a little olive oil if the sauce is not yet ready.
  2. In a large skillet, brown the butter over medium low heat: heat the butter for a few minutes until it melts, turns foamy, and then just starts to become brown in color and smells nutty, stirring occasionally. (The timing varies but should take around 5 minutes.) Be careful not to overcook.
  3. Immediately turn the heat to low. Add the minced garlic, sage, lemon zest, lemon juice and cook 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant and garlic just starts to turn golden. Remove from the heat before garlic browns (watch carefully because it can brown quickly!). Reserve until the gnocchi or ravioli are ready.
  4. In the skillet, toss the drained pasta, grated Parmesan cheese, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, and just enough pasta water until saucy (start with 2 to 3 tablespoons). Taste again and add a few more pinches of salt if desired. Enjoy warm. Leftovers store up to 2 days refrigerated; re-warm in a skillet and add a few pinches of salt if desired.


*Or, use 18 ounces refrigerated cheese tortelloni (or refrigerated tortellini); keep in mind that this is fresh filled pasta so the weight does not correspond to dry. Do not use dried tortellini here. We also don’t recommend this particular sauce for dry pasta noodles (like spaghetti, penne, etc).

**Do not substitute dried sage; it doesn’t translate well here.

  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian inspired
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Brown butter sage sauce, sage brown butter sauce