Sage Brown Butter Sauce w/ Walnuts


 I learned this recipe by attending a gnocchi cooking class hosted by Chef Alex Staab, which is a separate entry on the blog. If you are interested in taking any classes in the KC area, visit Eventbrite and search under his name.

This brown butter sauce is unreal. Breaking down this complicated terminology (insert sarcasm here) a ‘brown butter sauce’ is where you allow the butter to brown to bring out its nutty rich flavor in a different way than it tastes raw. Sage, walnuts and Parmesan cheese are added to the family to complete this rich and savory sauce. Its so delicate, but delicious and goes perfectly with gnocchi and any other pasta you may want to toss in. I just wanted to keep dipping my spoon in it when we were allowed a taste.

Its a much easier task than it sounds, just be sure you pay close attention to the heat and the sauce so it doesn’t burn. If so it will turn quickly to a bitter mess. No fun.

Here we go…


  • 4 tbsp of butter
  • 20 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 cup of chopped walnuts
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Pasta water (this is water reserved after pasta has been cooked in it)
  • Sea salt
  • Ground pepper


  1. In a large saute pan heat the walnuts until you smell the nutty aroma.
  2. Add butter to the pan and be sure to keep the butter moving around the pan or it will burn
  3. While the butter is melting add 15 of the sage leaves along with a pinch of salt & pepper
  4. Once the butter is brown, a light brown color, not dark brown add 4-6oz of pasta water to keep the butter from browning too much
  5. Grate the Parmesan cheese into the sauce and taste to see if S or P is needed
  6. Add the pasta or gnocchi to the pan and toss to combine
  7. Plate the pasta and garnish with more cheese and remaining sage leaves

Step 1: Toasting walnuts in large pan

Separating sage leaves from the stems

Step 2 & 3- Adding butter to pan, then adding sage

Step 4: Butter beginning to brown – next add pasta water

Step 6- Adding gnocchi to pan

Rebecca likes cheese, so she took over the garnishing of the gnocchi



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