Why Pasta with walnuts?
Like many Italian dishes the ingredients in this recipe are kept few and simple, leaving flavours to speak for themselves.
The natural oils from the walnuts when mixed with the hot starchy pasta create a deliciously nutty rich sauce that showcases the beautiful bittersweet taste of walnuts.
Matched with a little fresh basil, Parmesan and garlic this pasta is an easy yet hearty vegetarian dish.
This is also a dish I cook when converting walnut haters into walnut lovers. Trust me they will love it - just make sure you don’t tell them it contains walnuts until after they ask for seconds and double check a day before that they are not allergic to nuts!
400g dried linguine, spaghetti or other long pasta
50g pine nuts
80g melted butter (or olive oil)
60g Parmesan, grated
1 tablespoon finely shredded basil leaves
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
Extra Parmesan to garnish
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, using a mortar and pestle (or food processor) reduce the walnuts, pine nuts and garlic to a fine creamy paste.
Add the hot melted butter and mix to combine. Add the grated cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Cook the pasta until it is al dente and drain, making sure to reserve 1/2 cup of cooking liquid.
Toss the pasta in the walnut pesto and add a tablespoon or two of cooking liquid. The pasta should be coated evenly with a creamy walnut sauce. If it appears too thick, thin it out with a little more liquid or olive oil.
Serve sprinkled with basil and Parmesan.
Serves 6 as entrée or 4 as a main.