If there was a spirit in our back yard, I imagine it would eat the sage in our vegetable garden, because sage seems like good spirit food. Well, I harvested some myself to make this pasta sauce. This is a good quick-meal-after-work sauce, and it’s a good way to use up some of my over-abundance of zucchini. The zucchini is blended with white beans, walnuts, and broth to make a thick and creamy, though cream-free sauce. I used the broth from the millet stew I’d made, and it was very flavorful with sage and bay leaves, but you could use any broth you have on hand, or even water. I also used caramelized onions, because I’d made a huge batch over the weekend (and cut my finger!) but if you don’t happen to have them lying around, a shallot or a regular onion would be fine. And that’s all I can say about that at the moment because Malcolm is desperate for the computer.
Here’s Aretha Franklin’s remarkable Spirit in the Dark, live in Philly.
1 medium-sized zucchini, diced
1 can white beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup walnuts, toasted in a dry pan or toaster oven just till fragrant
1 T caramelized onions or 1 shallot – minced
2 T olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
2 cups vegetable broth, made with bay leaves and sage (or any broth you have, or water, even!)
5 or 6 fresh sage leaves
1 cup loosely packed fresh basil
1/2 red pepper flakes to taste
1 T butter (optional)
2 t sherry vinegar
salt and plenty of pepper
Put some salted water on to boil in a big pot. When it’s boiling, add your pasta shape of choice, and cook till it’s done just the way you like it.
Warm the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots, garlic, 4 sage leaves (chopped) and pepper flakes, and cook till the garlic starts to brown. Add the zucchini, and cook till it starts to soften and become translucent. Add half the white beans and about 3/4 of the walnuts. Cook and stir for a few minutes, and then add the white wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan, stir in all the tasty caramelized bits, and cook for about five minutes till it’s reduced. Add the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes – till the zucchini is quite soft. Add the basil, butter (if using) and vinegar, season well with salt and pepper.
Carefully blend everything till it’s nice and smooth, and then return it to the pan. Add the rest of the white beans. Stir and warm through. Serve with the pasta. Mix the remaining walnuts, chopped up with the remaining sage leaves, and sprinkle them on top for crunch!