Penne w/ Prosciutto, Walnuts & Fried Sage Leaves

Years ago, my mother in law and I took a cooking class given by David Ruggierro, who was a NYC restaurateur and chef and a good old wise guy from Brooklyn. He was a lot of fun and showed us how to make some delicious Italian foods from his neighborhood in Brooklyn and his grandmother's neighborhood in Sicily!

He demonstrated this dish in the class, and I have never forgotten it.
This dish comes from Piedmont, a region in Northern Italy, but tonight, will be made by a girl who lives in Northern New Jersey.

My photos don't do this dish justice. It is very simple, yet very special.

It is one of my favorite pasta dishes and the combination of walnuts, prosciutto and fried sage is just beautiful. I have cut down the cheese and butter from the original recipe so my jeans will fit and have written the recipe my way.

We serve it with a nice Super Tuscan, however, I think it would go with a nice minerally (?) Pinot Grigio too.

Make sure you have all your ingredients ready, because like any good pasta mixed with a skillet sauce, you have to work fast.

Penne alla San Giovanni (adapted from David Ruggierro's Little Italy Cookbook)

8 oz. of prosciutto, diced
5 garlic cloves, smashed
1/4 cup good olive oil
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped roughly
salt & pepper
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese

1 lb. penne pasta

1/2 stick of butter
25 sage leaves

Cook your pasta as per directions on the box.

In a heavy skillet heat your olive oil and cook your garlic, prosciutto and walnuts on medium heat until the prosciutto starts to brown (watch that your garlic doesn't burn). Once this is done, take your pan off the heat/burner.

Add your cooked, drained penne pasta to the skillet and mix with the prosciutto mixture. Add 1/2 cup of parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese and toss together.
Sprinkle with a bit of salt and cracked black pepper.

In a separate frying pan, cook 1/2 stick of butter and the 25 sage leaves on medium heat for about 2 minutes till the sage leaves are crisping up.
Pour this gorgeous sage butter on top of the pasta and serve.

As Marie would say: Buon Appetito!


Ciao Chow Linda said…
What a great, quick pasta dish - and good enough for company too. You're not doing yourself justice - your pictures are beautiful.
Patsyk said…
Hey, Stace! That pasta looks so good! I want to make it, but wonder if I could use pancetta instead of proscuitto? My hubby isn't crazy about prosciutto (can't figure that one out)... but pancetta is something he does enjoy.
I've never tried this with sage. I'll have to go get some!
Peter M said…
Ahh, love the sizzle of the sage. It's a simple pasta and the best ones are the basic ones...good ingredients.

I hope no hot oil got on you whilst making this.;)
Maria said…
Fried sage is a great addition to this dish. It looks amazing!!
kat said…
Oh my gosh does that look fabulous!
Looks delicious! The walnuts and pasta is a new combo for me.
LaDue & Crew said…
I think I could eat the whole thing right now... including the cheese you left out. Your pics are great on this one- that's what sucked me in ;o)
Foodiewife said…
Your photos certainly do this dish justice! I'm wanting comfort food, and I have a healthy sage bush in my backyard. I've got ALL the ingredients. Thanks for inspiring my dinner for tonight.
Debby, Your loyal fan in California
Michele said…
Looks delicious!!!
Giff said…
could never eat that much sage but looks like a great classic meal. Maybe I'd do a browned butter and rosemary instead.
Bob said…
Oh that looks wicked good. I love sage and prosciutto.
Pam said…
I want to make this NOW. It looks so creamy and delicious.
Dewi said…
Stacey, I must admit that I am a pasta type of person. My family and I (though we are not Italian) we eat lot's of pasta. Your pasta dish look so delicious, love the combination of walnut and prosciutto.
Karen said…
I could eat pasta three times a day... I love the fried sage leaves in this - I bet they taste so 'earthy'!
Anonymous said…
Looks nothing but good!
I love the taste of sage leaves fried in butter. Throw prosciutto in there and you have a perfect combo. Very nice simple pasta with great flavor combos.
Melissa said…
There is everything good about this dish. I just tried fried sage this autumn. I bet the combination with the nuts and prosciutto really is special.
Robin said…
ooh ooh ooooh...I'm definitely trying this one. Thanks for sharing the recipe!
The Food Hunter said…
I love walnuts in my pasta and the sage just made it even better.
Anonymous said…
Seriously the sage in butter is my weakness, holy cow this looks amazing!
Robin said…
Now that I have been growing my own sage I am getting into using it more often and it is sooo much better than the dried in the bottle kind. This is a great looking pasta!
Stacey, Nice pasta dish! Makes me salivating from your pictures! You sure make some good food during the week!
Anonymous said…
Giff may go for the rosemary, but I stick with sage! Seeing those pictures made my heart skip a beat! So many of my childhood memories taste and smell of butter sage and prosciutto!
Anonymous said…
Fried sage leaves sound amazing!
Andrea said…
Made this for dinner tonight and it was wonderfull!
Foodiewife said…
I hope that I did ya proud! I made this recipe tonight. There isn't a bite left. Total hit! Loved it!

Thanks! Next... well, I've got about three of your recipes in the "to make" queue
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