Cooking With Bwog: White Wine Pasta

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In the past, we’ve covered the spectrum of cooking all the way from the cooking essentials to Morningside’s exquisite dishes. Last week we showed you that it’s even possible to make prosciutto in the humblest of kitchens. For our second challenge, our dorm-trotting chef Matt Powell visited the kitchen of Daily Editor Alex Jones. Matt tells the story:

I hesitantly knocked on the door of one Watt suite. After last week, I just didn’t know what to expect. Thrown into the unknown of simple dorm life, a place where even basic ingredients can be sparse, I ventured into the dorm of Alex Jones.

I was greeted by a perfunctory, “The door is open.” Pushing the door, I found Alex along with his roommate Nashoba and a friend, Elyse. Alex had emailed me earlier, making sure that I arrived after he cleaned his Watt kitchen, as he was afraid of the “heinous state” of the space. I found the kitchen more than accommodating and quickly found myself at home, a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in one hand and a wooden spoon in the other.

I learned two things that night:

1. “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” is not even close to butter. I want to say that it is something of a vegetable derivative. Whatever it is, it does not properly brown like butter. For God’s sake, use real, unsalted butter.

2. It matters not what you cook but with whom you enjoy the meal. Alex, Nashoba, and Elyse were the perfect dining companions, spurring on rigorous conversation and drunken bemusement (It was only halfway through the night that I realized that I was in the middle of dedicated Bieber fans). Yet this was only the icing on the cake, as their friend stopped by to suggest a midtown party. While they continued through the night like a hilarious dream, I returned to crash in my own apartment. I had staked out an hour for this meal, but I ended up returning well after midnight.

Comparatively, Alex’s kitchen was pretty well-stocked. I had brought a colander and some leftover sage leaves for a possible dish in his Watt suite. Alex supplemented my contributions by tenfold. Not only did he have the staple ingredients of salt and pepper but he provided the cookware as well.

I created a simple dish that is perfect for the fall.

Brown Butter, Sage, and White Wine Pasta


  • 1 lb. farfalle pasta
  • Salt
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) butter
  • 8 sage leaves
  • 4 tbsp. white wine, at room temperature
  • Cayenne pepper and black pepper to taste
  • Good parmesan cheese for garnish


1. Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted water until al dente, about 10-12 minutes. Drain pasta.

2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Allow the butter to cook 5-6 minutes until amber-brown in color. The process of making brown butter is rather simple. It is simply cooking butter until it turns light brown, creating a flavor that is slightly nutty and hearty. Add in the sage leaves. Cook an additional 1 minute to infuse the butter. Pour in the white wine and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.

3. Pour sauce into the finished pasta. Season with pepper (and if need be, salt). Garnish with shavings of parmesan cheese. In this case, we used cheap, fake parmesan cheese, but it was sufficient.

Enjoy in the company of accommodating and enjoyable strangers.

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  1. Anonymous  

    I read that tag as "I can't believe it's not butler" as in you can't believe that nightlife at Columbia doesn't revolve around the library.

  2. Anonymous  

    Gotta love the stolen John Jay plates :D

  3. Anonymous

    I remember separating "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter" (I can) in junior high science class. It was about 90% oil. What's the point?

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