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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