Lately I've been really into walnuts. Plain walnuts for snacking, candied walnuts in salads, and toasted walnuts in cookies. Just when I think I've used walnuts in every possible dish that I can, BAM a new recipe is discovered that incorporates walnuts in an exciting and different way. Walnuts in pasta? Now we're talking. Essentially this dish is similar to making a pesto but walnuts take the place of fresh basil. For a rich vegetarian supper, where walnuts are the star ingredients
6 ounces shelled walnuts
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1 slice bread, crusts removed
2/3 cup whole milk
1 ounce grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil (preferably Ligurian)
Salt and pepper
2 pounds any flat short pasta
1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley, for garnish
- Put a large saucepan of water on to boil, and toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan until they begin to make a nutty aroma.
- Put the bread in a bowl and cover with the milk.
- Put most of the toasted walnuts (reserving about 1 ounce for garnish) into a blender along with the garlic, bread soaked in milk, and Parmesan. Blend until it turns smooth and creamy, then pour in the oil and season well with salt and pepper before blending again.
- Pour into a bowl, and set aside.
- Add pasta to boiling water with salt and cook for the required amount of time.
- When pasta is al dente, reserve a cup of the pasta cooking liquid and then drain the pasta, but put it in to a large bowl while it's still dripping slightly with water.
- Sprinkle a little olive oil over the pasta to prevent it sticking together, and then add the walnut sauce, mixing it into the pasta (splash in a little pasta cooking liquid to make the sauce less thick if needed).
- Roughly chop the remaining walnuts and toss them over the top along with some more Parmesan and the chopped parsley.
8 to 10 servings