Thursday, July 3, 2008

walnut-lemon sauce for pasta

On Tuesday night, I made a very simple pasta sauce that is one of our favorites. I found it in Real Simple magazine last fall and have made it several times since. All it requires is olive oil, walnuts, parsley, and lemon juice. We had fresh parsley from the CSA box and we almost always have the other ingredients on hand.

My tip for chopping fresh herbs such as parsley or basil is to place the leaves in a small bowl and, holding the kitchen shears vertically, snip them into little pieces. It's much easier than chopping the herbs with a knife and only takes a few seconds.

The little bowl pictured is one of these Williams-Sonoma stainless steel prep bowls. They come in sets of four with plastic lids. I have eight of these bowls altogether and they are in constant rotation. We use them for everything - salad dressing, cinnamon sugar, storage of small amounts of leftovers - and they are particular useful for dishes with many ingredients, like stir fry.

For the sauce, which only takes a few minutes, you just need to heat a tablespoon or two of olive oil over medium heat and then add the walnuts (one small handful per serving), stirring frequently until they are nicely toasted. Follow your nose for this - when you can smell a nice strong walnut smell, they are done. Quickly add the parsley, stir, remove from heat, and add a dash of lemon juice (most of the liquid will instantly steam off, but the lemony flavor will remain).

After the lemon juice, add the cooked pasta of your choice to the pan, stir to toss, and serve. I always use ravioli with this sauce. In this case, I used plain cheese ravioli from the freezer. This sauce is particularly excellent with homemade pumpkin ravioli, but that's another recipe for another post.

We ate this ravioli with a simple salad (romaine from week 2, curly lettuce from week 3, carrots, and green grapes). I always eat my salad first so if I get full, at least I got my veggies in.

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