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~ Spicy Bow Ties w/Brown Butter, Onions 'n Sage ~

PICT1290Growing up in the area of Eastern Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley , homemade noodles were something I just took for granted.  In my Eastern European family, my grandmother or mother made a lot of soup and when they did, I just assumed there would be homemade egg noodles in it.  The Lehigh Valley also has a large Pennsylvania Dutch community, so buttered noodles were served as a side-dish in a lot of my friends homes and in restaurants as well.  When I got married and moved here to Happy Valley (State College, PA) I was pleasantly surprised to find out that noodles would remain a big part of my life thanks to our close proximity to the Amish population.  Yes, noodles of some type have been a big part of my life, I love noodles, and I'm looking forward to sharing all sorts of homemade/made-from-scratch, noodle and dumpling-type recipes with you!

PICT1258 A bit about bow ties:  Farfalle, affectionately referred to as bow ties, is not a noodle at all, it is pasta, and more importantly it is macaroni, which means it is not made using eggs.  The Italian word for butterfly is "farfalla", for which it is named.  

That being said, when I was growing up, "in a pinch" bow ties were commonly substituted for homemade noodles in PA Dutch buttered-noodle-type side-dishes and casseroles.  I believe bow ties were chosen as a time-saving substitution because of their small size (fork friendly), ruffly nooks and crannies (for butter to puddle) and texture (slightly chewy in the center just like a properly-cooked homemade noodle). When our school cafeteria served "buttered noodles", they served "buttered bow-ties" with a crunchy breadcrumb topping and us kids just loved them... which probably accounts for their overwhelming popularity... kids love them!

PICT1278 Buttered-noodles are most commonly tossed in a simple mixture of melted butter and an occasional herb with a sprinkling of salt and pepper.  That being said, it was my grandmother who made a lot of her noodles and dumplings taste over-the-top-delicious by tossing them in a mixture of brown butter, caramelized onions, salt and pepper.  My recipe is basically the same as hers, with the optional additions of some ground cayenne pepper and dried rubbed Dalmatian sage.  Why?  Well, cayenne pepper adds heat as well as a pretty golden color. Sage pairs perfectly with pork dishes or pork chops. When I was growing up, one of my favorite meals was breaded pork chops with buttered noodles and applesauce, so these two additions took my recipe over-the-top as well!

PICT11081  12-ounce box farfalle (bow ties)

12  tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks)

3/4-1  teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

3/4-1  teaspoon dried, rubbed Dalmatian sage

2-2 1/2 cups diced yellow or sweet onion

freshly ground sea salt, to taste

Note:  This easy side-dish can be prepared in about 20 minutes.  It is delicious served in place of rice or potatoes with just about anything!


~ Step 1.  In a 5-quart stockpot, cook and drain the pasta as directed.  Set aside.

PICT1110 ~ Step 2.   While the bow ties are cooking, prep the onion as directed and set aside.

In a 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight deep sides, or a 12" skillet, melt the butter over low heat.  Stir in the cayenne and sage.






~ Step 3.  Add the onions and adjust heat to medium or medium-high, but, not TOO high.  









~ Step 4.  Saute until the butter is a nice golden brown and the onions are all browning around their edges.  This will take 8-12 minutes, depending on how your heat is adjusted.

Regulate the heat carefully, as this mixture can and will go from browned to burned very quickly.

Lower the heat or turn it off.  Add the pasta and using a large spoon gently and thoroughly toss to coat. Salt to taste.  Serve immediatley.

In every family, there are fantastic recipes that get passed down, and even improved upon, from generation to generation.  You can read my recipe for ~ Crispy Cinnamon-Cayenne Breaded Pork Chops w/Brown Butter 'n Sage Bow Ties & Applesauce ~ in Categories 3 or 19!

PICT1159Spicy Bow Ties w/Brown Butter, Onions 'n Sage:  Recipe yields 4-6 servings of bow ties.

Special Equipment List:  5-quart stockpot; colander; 3 1/2-quart chef's pan w/straight, deep sides or 12" skillet

Cook's Note:  As I've taught many of my classes, brown butter, which is very simple to make is one of a cooks' or chefs' best secrets.  Depending upon the application, the addition of onion and  a couple of complementary spices can change an ordinary dish into an extraordinary one! 

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2011)


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