Fettuccine with Mascarpone, Toasted Walnuts, and Basil

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    O.k. friends……time for some carbohydrates.  This is a rich and delicious pasta dish that goes well with a light salad.  I love the combination of crunchy, toasted walnuts with the creamy mascarpone cheese and the fresh basil!  And…..it’s really quick and easy, with only 5 ingredients plus salt and pepper!


    This recipe is from a book called The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook by Jack Bishop.  The cookbook has 350 recipes!  That ought to keep me busy for awhile, don’t ya think?  I’ve changed some of the ingredient amounts, to my taste, and, instead of a regular fettuccine, I used Fettucce Ricce, which looks similar to fettuccine, but it’s wider and the edges are ruffled.  The name means “curly ribbon” in Italian.  I love all the Italian pasta shapes and their fun translations!

Fettuccine with Mascarpone, Toasted Walnuts, and Basil
                                                                                        (serves 4-6)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
4 tblsp. unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fettuccine (or similar pasta)

The first thing to do is bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta.  Then start working on the rest of the recipe.  When the water comes up to a boil, add a hefty amount of salt and the pasta.  Cook according to the pkg. directions to al dente.  Then drain the pasta, reserving around 1 cup of the pasta water.
In the meantime, place the walnuts in a skillet over medium heat.  Toast them, shaking the pan occasionally, until they’re fragrant.  Transfer them to a plate.
Next, melt the butter in the skillet.  Add the nuts and basil and cook until heated through.
Place the mascarpone in a bowl that’s big enough to hold the cooked pasta. Stir in the walnut and basil mixture.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Now, toss the pasta, still dripping with the cooking water, with the walnut sauce and mix well.  Add as much of the reserved cooking water as you need to thin the sauce.  Garnish with a nice basil sprig and serve!
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For printable recipe, click here.

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