Fettuccine with no-cook walnut sauce (3 servings)

Whenever I start a new school year, I'm disappointed by how little I get to cook during the week. It's difficult to find the time. This is the time of year when I rely on easy, shortcut recipes like this, and I was especially happy with this particular recipe!

You will need:

  • 3/4 lb dried fettuccine
  • 1/2 raw, unsalted walnuts
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

Steps:

  1. Start the water boiling for the pasta. Meanwhile, toast the nuts in a skillet and set aside to cool.
  2. Place the basil leaves and garlic in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
  3. Add the walnuts, parmesan, and a dash of salt and pepper. Pulse a few more times.
  4. Pour in the oil, half-and-half, and yogurt. Pulse a few more times until everything is mixed well. Taste to see if you need more salt and pepper.
  5. If your stove takes ages to boil, as ours does, use the remaining few minutes to clean up or throw a quick salad together.
  6. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain but do not rinse. Place fettuccine in serving bowl and pour sauce over top.

The sauce is creamy but not overly rich. The walnuts add a soft crunch, which the basil adds sweetness. I was thrilled with how quickly this all came together! I might try this again with mushrooms sometime. We ended up with 3 servings.

A few notes: I've discovered that fresh, local, organic garlic (yay!) is MUCH more pungent than the dry, papery stuff that's been sitting on the shelf in the grocery store for lord knows how long. If you're using very fresh garlic, I'd use less than one clove; it was a bit strong for us with a whole clove. Also, don't skimp on the half-and-half. I used to buy the fat-free variety in an attempt to health-ify my recipes, but I've recently discovered it's just skim milk bulked up with corn syrup. Ugh. No thanks. You don't need much for this recipe, so go for the real stuff. You could use low-fat yogurt if you're really concerned.

I'm starting to get really excited for fall cooking. This morning the air was crisp and fresh, and my neighbors had their wood stove burning. Mmm. And there are so many recipes I want to try this fall!