Butter and sage sauce

Adapted from Lidia's Mastering the Art of Italian Cuisine by Lidia Matticchio Bastianich and Tanya Bastianich Manuali

Makes about 1 cup, enough to dress 1 pound of cooked pasta or one batch of basic potato gnocchi.

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter

10 fresh sage leaves

1 cup very hot water from the cooking pot of your pasta of choice

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste

1 cup freshly grated parmesan

Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat until melted and just foaming. Gently lay the sage leaves in the pan, and heat until they crisp up, about a minute. 

Ladle in 1 cup boiling pasta water; stir the sauce, and simmer for about 2 minutes, to reduce the liquid by half. Grind the black pepper directly into the sauce. 

Keep the sauce hot over very low heat; then return sauce to a simmer just before adding the drained pasta. Toss the pasta in the sauce until well coated. Remove from heat and toss in the cheese just before serving.