I was a bit skeptical at first. Pasta and walnuts?! Not a combination I had grown up with in Germany or knew from visiting Italy. And let’s be honest, nothing comes close to traditional, home-style Italian pasta. Well…I loved this dish…even though any Italian out there may say that this is not authentic Italian cooking =P
Ingredients (Makes 2-3 servings):
1 cup walnut pieces or halves
3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs, see note
3 tablespoons olive or walnut oil
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1-2 cloves garlic (optional)
¼ cup butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper
14 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, to serve, see note
Preparation (Preparation time approximately 20 minutes):
1. I used the walnuts as they came from the bag. (Alternatively, to remove the skins you can drop the nuts into a small pan of boiling water, and cook for 1-2 minutes. Drain. Slip of the skins. Dry on paper towels.) Coarsely chop and set aside about a quarter of the nuts.
2. Place the remaining nuts, the breadcrumbs, oil, parsley, and garlic (if using) in a food processor or blender. Process to a paste. Remove to a bowl, and stir in the softened butter and the milk. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Cook the pasta in a large pan of rapidly boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, and toss with the sauce. Sprinkle with the reserved chopped nuts, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
* I like to use home-made bread crumbs. See suggestion under: https://ourfunstuff.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/366/
* We have grown fond of Pecorino Romano cheese instead of Parmesan cheese. It is a bit milder in taste.
* This dish stores well in the refrigerator in an air-tight container and can easily be reheated using the microwave.
Adapted from The Cook’s Encyclopedia of Italian Cooking by Carla Capalbo
* Walnuts (including their skin) are a good source of vitamin E. They also are rich in magnesium and potassium. They even contain a fair amount of calcium.