Pasta With Walnut Sauce and Broccoli Raab
This creamy pasta is inspired by a Ligurian sauce that is traditionally served with ravioli filled with greens.
- 1 garlic clove, cut in half, green shoot removed
- 3/4 cup shelled walnuts
- 1 tablespoon bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup fresh ricotta
- 2 tablespoons warm water
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus additional for sprinkling (Pecorino can be substituted for some of the Parmesan)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon walnut oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 bunch broccoli raab, stems trimmed, or broccoli, broken or cut into small florets (stems set aside for another purpose)
- 1 pound orecchiette, farfalle or other pasta
- About 1/2 cup pasta cooking water (more as needed
1. Turn on a food processor fitted with the steel blade, and drop in the garlic. When it is chopped and adhering to the sides of the bowl, turn off and scrape down the bowl. Add the walnuts and bread crumbs, and process to a paste. Add the ricotta, 2 tablespoons warm water and Parmesan. Pulse until well blended. Add the olive and walnut oils, and process until smooth and homogenous. Taste and add salt as desired. Transfer to a wide pasta bowl.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the broccoli raab or broccoli. Boil four to five minutes, until tender but still bright. Transfer to the ice water. Drain and chop broccoli raab medium-fine (regular broccoli need not be chopped). Set aside.
3. Bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta al dente, following the timing instructions on the package but checking a minute or two before the indicated cooking time. Before draining the pasta, add 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water to the ricotta mixture and stir until well blended. The sauce should have a creamy consistency (add more of the pasta water if necessary). Just before draining the pasta, add the broccoli raab or broccoli back into the pot with the pasta to heat, then drain. Toss at once with the sauce, and serve, passing Parmesan or Pecorino on the side.
Yield: Serves 6.
Advance preparation: You can make the dish through step 2 several hours before cooking the pasta and serving.