A Simple Sauce for a Unique Pasta
For Christmas, my wife gave me the hot, new cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi called Plenty More. It is his follow up to his bestselling, Plenty, and continues to delve into vegetarian cooking. What I really like about this cookbook is that it is organized by cooking methods rather than season or course. I am a huge fan of learning cooking techniques so this cookbook demonstrates many of the important techniques.
If you are not familiar with tagliatelle, it is a ribbon pasta from the northern region of Italy called Emilia-Romagna. It comes from the Italian word tagliare which means “to cut” and is often served with the classic meat sauce called Bolognese, one of my favorites.
It’s great fresh if you can find it or enjoy preparing your own home-made pasta but I found some dried tagliatelle and my local market that worked fine for this recipe. You can also substitute fettuccine or any other ribbon pasta.
Walnuts and Cream
In my opinion, one of the great combinations for a pasta sauce especially when you add a little lemon, parsley and Parmesan cheese. Be sure to only use fresh walnuts. I purchased shelled walnut pieces at a vegetarian market where I could taste them before I bought them to make sure they were not bitter. It also saves on prep time not having to shell them.
Tagliatelle Pasta With Walnuts and Lemon Recipe
1 cup shelled walnuts, broken up into pieces
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup fresh sage leaves, shredded by hand
grated zest of 1 lemon
6 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
16 ounces dried tagliatelle
3 cups fresh Parmesan, shaved or grated
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped medium
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper, to taste
How To Prepare At Home
Preheat the oven to 325°F and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
While the oven is heating up, prep all the ingredients and get them all in place to work with. This will greatly reduce the cooking time and help with timing.
When the oven is preheated, place the walnut pieces onto a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 15 minutes. After 7 - 8 minutes, give them a toss and be careful not to let them overcook or burn. When done, remove from oven and let cool.
While the walnuts are toasting, heat up a fry pan over medium-high heat and when hot, add the butter. As soon as the butter melts, add the shredded sage leaves and cook for 2 - 3 minutes. You are making sage butter, one of flavors of all time.
At this point, the butter will start to brown which is good, but don't let it burn. Add lemon zest, cream, a little bit of salt and a couple of grinds of fresh pepper. Stir to combine ingredients.
Remove the pan from heat and set it aside until you are ready to add the pasta and other ingredients. Be careful not to let the cream separate by cooking too long.
When the pasta comes to a boil, add the tagliatelle and cook until al dente. This takes 8 - 12 minutes. When perfectly cooked, remove and reserve some of the pasta water in case you need it to thin out the sauce a little.
Reheat the sauce on medium-low and if too thick add some of the reserved pasta water.
You can drain now drain the tagliatelle and add it to a big bowl or if the pan you are using is big enough, add the pasta right to the sauce. Either way, add the walnuts, Parmesan and parsley and stir to combine.
Add the lemon juice, toss again, taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
I like to have some Parmesan on the table for those who want more.
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