Eat for Eight Bucks: Pasta with Brown Butter and Sage Recipe

Robin Bellinger

Shopping List

1 box pasta: $2.79 1 bunch sage: $1.69
1 head lettuce: $2.69

Pantry items: Salt, pepper, butter, parmigiano or pecorino romano, salad dressing.

Total cost (for 4 portions): $7.17

Last week Andrew laughed at me when I boasted of having cooked perfect hard-boiled eggs without referring to a book, so I'll have to hope he does not read this and discover that I consulted Marcella Hazan before making the simple pasta with brown butter and sage he liked so much. Most of you probably don't need a recipe for this, either; but if, like me, you get a little nervous around browning butter, this is a great way to get more comfortable.

As plain and even regressive as buttery pasta is, nobody is ever sad to see it on the dinner table. I've included a green salad here for propriety's sake, but I have to admit that on the kind of nights we make this we usually just eat giant bowls of noodles, balance be damned. If you don't keep good, hard cheese around, two ounces should be quite enough--some cheesemongers will cut you a little sliver.

Pasta with Brown Butter and Sage


  • 1 pound pasta, preferably fettucine
  • Salt
  • 4-6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • Pepper
  • Pecorino romano or parmigiano to finish


  1. Cook the pasta in a large pot of well salted boiling water. When it is done, set aside about a quarter cup of the cooking water and then drain the pasta. Remove it to a serving bowl

  2. Right away, swirl a little of the reserved cooking water into the pasta in case it is sticking together. Then pour the butter over the pasta and toss to coat. Grind over some pepper and grate over some cheese.