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Tortellini with Brown Butter and Sage

Tortellini with Brown Butter and Sage

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Store-bought tortellini are the kind of weeknight hack we can get behind—especially when they're tossed with plenty of garlicky brown butter and toasty walnuts. Any variety of stuffed pasta will work here (ravioli, agnolotti, etc.), though we're partial to a classic cheese filling regardless of shape; it'll really let that sage-y sauce shine. Just make sure to buy the fresh stuff from the refrigerated (or frozen!) section of the store, and avoid weird shelf-stable versions at all costs.


  1. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, do some prep. First, chop ¾ cup walnuts so they’re roughly the size of peas.

  2. Smash 5 garlic cloves, peel, and discard skins. (You don’t want the cloves to be obliterated, but smashed enough create plenty of surface area.)

  3. Cut ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter into 8 pieces and transfer to a large skillet. Heat skillet over medium-low and cook butter, swirling often, until just melted, 2–3 minutes.

  4. Add walnuts and garlic and continue to cook, stirring often with a heatproof spatula, until nuts and garlic are light golden brown and butter solids are browned as well, 3–4 minutes longer. It will get very foamy and hard to see the bottom of the skillet, so use spatula to drag through butter—you should leave a trail of little brown specks in your wake (a.k.a. toasty, delicious milk solids).

  5. Add 16 sage leaves and cook (still over medium-low heat), stirring constantly, until sage crackles and is dark green and crisp, about 1 minute longer. Remove skillet from heat. Hot tip: If you think things are getting too dark, add a splash or two of pasta cooking liquid to the hot pan; this will halt the browning process. Season with 1½ tsp. salt and ½ tsp. pepper.

  6. Cook 1 lb. store-bought cheese tortellini (or other stuffed pasta) in boiling salted water and set a timer according to package directions, but start checking doneness a minute early. Fresh pasta packages are often a little generous with their cook times, so it pays to check sooner rather than later—you don't want falling-apart pasta! Stir pasta once or twice as it cooks to ensure it cooks evenly.

  7. When pasta is cooked, drain and transfer to butter sauce. Return skillet to medium heat and cook, stirring and tossing, until pasta is well coated in sauce, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tsp. apple cider vinegar. Taste sauce and add more salt if needed.

  8. Divide tortellini among plates. Sprinkle with 2 oz. Parmesan and a few good cranks of pepper.

Reviews SectionThis recipe was very easy to make and also very quick from start to finish, with little dishwashing involved. I smashed the garlic more thoroughly, which allowed it to caramelize and have a very soft almost melt-y texture. I also added lots black pepper and some chili flakes in the butter while it was browning, which gave a nice mildly spicy taste.I wasn't mindblown by the result, but overall it was a very yummy, quick weeknight family meal.Tasted great - but a little heavy for a main, I agree that this would be a great appetizer for a multi-course meal. The only thing I'd change is that I'd dice the garlic and add more.kartik.dasSingapore04/06/20Woo! This looks insanely delicious. Thanks to the reviewer who added pumpkin seeds rather than walnuts (fellow nut allergy sufferer here, boo hiss). I just might try this!AnonymousCalifornia USA03/31/20The sage flavor really comes through in the butter sauce, loved it. Super easy and would make again for a quick meal. Thanks Molly and the whole bon appetit crew for cooking inspo during isolation.Kara_SamadhiMelbourne 03/25/20I made it with pumpkin ravioli and it was delish.Turned out great! I have a nut allergy, so I substituted pumpkin seeds for the walnuts and they worked really well. I wouldn't say it makes 4 servings though.... but maybe it was just so good I was greedy with how much I filled my bowl. :)whitneyarnerBrooklyn09/07/19Everyone loved the first 4 or 5 bites and the it was just to rich to finish. Maybe, as an appietizer...?cook to relaxCincinnati06/15/19This was my first Basically recipe and it did not disappoint. Delish! The first recipe I've made with sage and walnuts, in addition to the first recipe where I felt like a legit home cook. I made this twice in 1 week and bragged to anyone who would listen: "I used sage AND walnuts in a freakin' brown butter pasta dish!"So easy and really satisfying. Yum!!heather eatsMontreal06/11/19I think this came out really well. I did up the count on sage leaves to about 20. Next time I’d do again with my homemade pasta, maybe over some large ravioli as an app. Added the few splashes of pasta water to loosen it up a bit. Recipe was well written with the instructions.Milwaukee, Wisconsin 06/08/19My boyfriend and I thought it was delicious! But, it's definitely not very healthy... not that that's always bad though - everything in balance :) - however it's not really filling enough to be a main/splurge meal of the day. If I remade it I'd like to modify it to make it more forgiving or filling... perhaps adding vegetables, or swapping the tortellini for a chicken-filled ravioli.This may or may not have created the best pasta I've ever had. The most amazing way to spice up pasta and an amazing comfort meal. The smell of the walnuts, brown butter, and sage was crack. Insanely good, insanely easy.I used fancy shmancy ravioli from Trader Joe's instead of tortellini and added a few fresh sprigs of rosemary.ivy_klaussonSan Francisco, CA05/21/19So easy and so delicious!olavspirigCopenhagen, Denmark05/17/19This was great. Grocery store was out of sage but will definitely be making it again with the sage.Entire dinner conversation was just “mmmmmm” -ing this recipe. So good and took no time at all to make!cabreracaila5289The Woodlands, Texas05/09/19So simple & so delicious! Sliced up some white mushrooms and added with the garlic & walnuts. Haven’t cooked with sage much before so it was fun to incorporate something new & different than my usual basic herbs & spices. Will definitely make again soon!AnonymousOakland, CA 05/05/19Made this tonight and it was incredibly delicious. If I could change one thing, it would be my metabolism so that I could eat the entire thing and not gain weight.This is absolutely DELICIOUS! I just might make it every other week! I am not a fan of walnuts usually, but toasted in the butter made them delectable. I would caution to really taste the sauce before adding additional salt. It wasn't until I tasted an individual tortellini that I discovered I had too much salt. This will be often on our dinner menu for the summer, as we grow fresh sage in our herb garden.AnonymousLaramie,WY05/01/19Fantastic. Sans the walnuts. Definitely let the butter brown. I crushed the garlic and minced a few for an added garlic taste. Crushed red pepper a great addition too.Absolutely delicious and fairly simple to make! I would say it took no more than 20 minutes from start to finish and no crazy or expensive ingredients. Loved the pairing of the walnuts with the tortellini and brown butter sauce. Only thing is I may not have allowed the butter to brown as much as I should've so I'll definitely be trying this again while letting it cook longer.

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