Sunday, 21 November 2010

Rotelli with Walnut Sauce featuring California Walnuts

This week's theme at I Heart Cooking Clubs is Fall Favourites. This brings to mind comforting dishes, warm and easy to make.. like pasta! I found a delicious Giada recipe using a walnut sauce, put my own spin on it, and brightened it up a bit with some pomegranate seeds.

Nuts remind me of fall and winter, and they go great with cheese and fruit, not to mention wine! Toasting delicious California walnuts gives them a deep, earthy flavour that can't be beat. Stay tuned for more seasonal walnut dishes this month!

Rotelli with Walnut Sauce
a Giada De Laurentiis recipe, adapted from the Vancouver Sun

Rotelli and fusilli are really the same thing -- corkscrew-shaped pasta. When you come home from work, all drained, and all you want is a nice, comforting dinner and a glass of wine, this might do the trick. To toast the walnuts, spread on a baking sheet in a 350 F oven for 5 to 10 minutes until golden and fragrant. From Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis.

1 pound rotelli or fusilli *Mine was three-colour

1 1/2 cups toasted California walnuts

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

3/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup chopped fresh flatleaf parsley

1/2 cup arugula, chopped

1 green onion, sliced thin

Garnish: Parmesan shards and pomegranate seeds, plus a walnut half or two

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, in a food processor combine the walnuts, butter, salt and pepper. Pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the olive oil in a steady stream. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl and stir in the Parmesan, then the cream.

When the pasta is done, place it in a large bowl while still very warm. Stir in the walnut sauce. Add the reserved pasta liquid, 1/4 cup at a time, until the sauce completely coats the pasta, using only as much as needed. Sprinkle with the parsley, green onion and arugula, toss, garnish, and serve.

Makes 4 to 6 servings.