Combined with garlic sautéed mushrooms, this super simple walnut pesto pasta is a spin on traditional pesto, full of earthy flavors.
Temperatures have dropped within two days in Chicago from 83°F to 37°F (i.e. 28°C to 3°C) , and it seems the beautiful Indian Summer is now behind us for good. Say hello to the multi-layers, scarves, gloves, and everything you need to keep you cozy and warm. I thought I was ready for fall, I am not so sure anymore now that we met winter right away. The good news is that fall recipes are always my favorite ones, so I made you a perfect seasonal pasta dish today!
Ready in 30 minutes, this recipe makes a perfect weeknight meal on a budget. Add the garlic sautéed mushrooms, pair with a glass of white wine, and it is now perfect for a fancy weekend night with friends. It’s the perfect cozy dish for those chilly days out there and you should definitely give it a try anytime soon.
Ok, so what do we have here? A walnut pesto! Have you ever heard about it? Tried it maybe? Whatever your answer is, there is something you should no asap: it is ridiculously easy and quick to prepare! To all beginners in the kitchen, students or anyone who do not want to spend time cooking, you have got to know this recipe. It might even be the very first one you can use to impress your friends/date!
Walnuts, garlic, olive oil, seasoning… and mix everything up! That’s all you need to do. Of course you want to have a food processor to make it simple to process, but even if you don’t own one, you can still mix everything up by hand, using a mortar or equivalent. Walnuts are soft and easy to crush. Because you will use the pesto for the pasta, you then want to thinner the texture a little bit by adding some water until creamy. I use pasta cooking water to bring extra flavor.
If you keep the water out, you can store your pesto in the refrigerator and use it for other purposes, such as a spread on a savory tartine or crackers, to serve along with cheese, or add it to your homemade vinaigrette to make a lovely salad dressing with a nutty flavor. Simple flavors are best. Always. Remember it. As for now, let’s make it creamy and combine it with pasta (I went for fettuccine, spaghetti would be great too).
Once your walnut pesto is ready, you can stop the recipe now and serve your walnut pasta as is. Or you can make them a little bit more fancy by preparing some garlic sautéed mushrooms. I recommend the use of wild mushrooms because of their strong earthy flavor. Key is to heat the skillet before adding the fat and the mushrooms. I would have liked making this recipe vegan, but it turned out that I found that butter worked much better than olive oil in order to sauté the mushrooms, so let’s stick to butter. Keep in mind that the idea is to sauté the mushrooms, not to cook them until extra soft and tasteless. So keep an eye on the cooking and always stop a little bit too early than too late. Once mushrooms are sautéed we add garlic. You do not want to add it from the beginning or you will loose its favor while cooking; garlic is very sensitive. Then we add just a little bit of dry white wine to enhance all the flavors together.
Serve your walnut pasta with the wild garlic sautéed mushrooms, garnish with extra walnuts, add some herbs if you wish (parsley, chives…), then serve it all with a glass of white wine such as a riesling. Hello beautiful fall!
- 1 lb (454g) spaghetti or fettuccine
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- Black pepper
- 1 cup (125g) walnuts
- ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons (10g) parmesan cheese, grated
- 1-2 Tablespoons water
- 10.5 oz (300g) wild mushrooms
- 1 Tablespoon (20g) butter
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 Tablespoon dried white wine
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- Combine garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, walnuts and parmesan cheese in a food processor and pulse until combined, scraping down sides of food processor bowl as needed. Slowly add olive oil, pulsing until combined. Do not overprocess or pesto will have very little texture. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking water.
- Thin pesto with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the reserved pasta cooking water to achieve a sauce that will coat pasta. Drizzle pesto over pasta and toss to combine.
- Place a large skillet on high heat. Once hot, melt in the butter, then throw in the mushrooms and sauté for about 2 minutes, stirring often. Add garlic and cook for 30 more seconds. Pour in the white wine and cook until evaporated, about one more minute. Add a pinch of sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
- Top the pasta with garlic sautéed mushrooms, and garnish with extra walnuts.