Doctor's Review: Medicine on the Move

October 18, 2021
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Walnut pasta and pan-fried mushrooms

This is for anyone who prefers a sauce without cream. With walnut pesto on hand, all you need to do is fry the mushrooms. Any variety of mushrooms will do the trick.

3 tbsp. (45 ml) olive oil

1 lb. (500 g) mushrooms (such as cremini, oyster, portobello or shiitake), thinly sliced


a pinch of hot pepper flakes (optional)

1 lb. (500 g) long or short pasta of your choice

walnut pesto (one generous spoonful per serving; recipe follows)

freshly ground pepper

In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of the oil over medium-high heat and add half of the mushrooms. Season with salt and a few of the hot pepper flakes (if using). Allow the mushrooms to brown for several minutes, adding a little more of the remaining olive oil as necessary. When the mushrooms are nicely coloured on both sides, remove from the skillet. Repeat with the remaining mushrooms. Keep warm.

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta. Drain, reserving ½ cup (125 ml) of the cooking water.

Toss the pasta, pesto and some of the reserved water until the pasta is well coated.

Serve the pasta on individual plates, topped with pan-fried mushrooms. Season with pepper. Serves 4 or 5.

Serving suggestions:

  • Replace the mushrooms with fried butternut squash or zucchini.
  • Serve the pasta alongside a salad of pear tomatoes seasoned with grated lemon zest and olive oil.

Walnut pesto

1 c. (250 ml) walnut halves, toasted for 5 minutes and cooled

1 c. (250 ml) Italian flat-leaf parsley

½ c. (125 ml) grated Parmesan cheese

a pinch of chopped garlic or 3 or 4 cloves roasted garlic

a pinch of hot pepper flakes

salt and freshly ground pepper

about ½ c. (125 ml) olive oil

In a food processor, coarsely chop the walnuts and parsley. Add the Parmesan, garlic, pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Gradually add oil to the food processor, pulsing several times, until pesto is blended, but not too smooth. Texture should remain coarse.

Serving suggestions:

  • Add to a chicken salad or beet-and-endive salad.
  • Blend with fresh goat cheese and spread on bread.

Recipes and photos from Pasta et Cetera à la di Stasio (Transcontinental Books, 2009).

This article was accurate when it was published. Please confirm rates and details directly with the companies in question.


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