It was while I worked at Fairchild Publications that I discovered Pino Luongo's delicious Penne Alla Salvia (Pasta with Veal & Sage) at his Tuscan eatery, Il Cantinori. Located just a few blocks from Women’s Wear Daily's 12th Street offices, the beautiful, rustic spot was a favorite among Fairchilders. Ever since my friend Gwen (who enjoyed this meal many a time with me) tracked down the recipe for the beloved dish in Pino's A Tuscan in the Kitchen: Recipes and Tales from My Home, I’ve been recreating it in my home for family and friends. The measurements weren't included in the original recipe, so the amounts below are what I've settled on over time. This is one of the simplest dishes I make, but the payoff's pure delight, especially thanks to the velvety sage. Serve it with salad and a crusty baguette to absorb the delicious juices at the bottom of the bowl.
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds ground lean veal
4 oz. prosciutto, chopped (I often use Citterio's pre-chopped prosciutto or pancetta)
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
1 cup dry white wine
10-12 large sage leaves, chopped (or 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage powder)
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
2-3 cups beef stock (I also use chicken or vegetable stock), plus 1 extra cup in case sauce gets too dry
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 pounds penne pasta
Heat the olive oil in a pan and brown the veal.
Add the prosciutto, onion, carrot, and parsley.
Stir in the sage and cover with wine; turn up the heat and cook until the wine evaporates.
Stir in just enough broth to keep the mixture from sticking to the pan. Lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 45 minutes.
Add more broth as needed; the mixture should be moist but not runny. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta and drain.
Add pasta to the pan with the sauce.
Serve with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.