Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Walnut Mushroom Pasta

I was never a fan of cream based sauces in the past, mostly because dairy and I were never the best of friends. But I also didn't like the heaviness that it lent to a sauce. However, I do like the smooth, rich texture of these kinds of sauces. When I was looking for inspiration on how to use mushrooms and pasta together, I came across a recipe that incorporated a walnut sauce. What better way to get a creamy, rich texture than with nuts? The walnuts have a mellow flavor that didn't overpower the delicious flavor of the cremini mushrooms in the dish; they added a really earthy element. Also, the fat in this dish is healthy and not full of cholesterol and saturated fat. Best of all, this is an easy and quick dinner to whip up on a weeknight, with plenty of time to chop up veggies for a salad.

Walnut Mushroom Pasta
-3/4 cup walnuts
-3/4 cup vegetable stock
-2 tbsp olive oil
-1 onion, sliced
-4 cloves garlic, minced
-1 tsp dried thyme
-10 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
-2 tbsp water
-1/4 cup parsley, chopped
-salt and pepper
-1 lb linguine

-In a blender, puree the walnuts and vegetable stock until smooth. Set aside.
-Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add the onion slices. Cook until softened, about 5-6 minutes.
-Add the garlic, thyme, and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the garlic is fragrant and the mushrooms start to soften, about 3-4 minutes.
-Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the water, stir, and cover. Continue to cook for another 10 minutes.
-In the meantime, cook and drain the pasta.
-Add the prepared walnut sauce and the parsley to the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for another 3 minutes.
-Toss the pasta with the walnut mushroom sauce to coat, and serve immediately.

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