How amazing does that sound? Pretty darn amazing right? RIGHT! It was a Saturday morning and I was watching all my favorite PBS shows... America's Test Kitchen, Cook's Country, Ciao Italia, Avec Eric, Julia and Jacque and of course, Lidia's Italy. It was on Lidia's Italy that Lidia Bastianich was making this wonderful sounding dish. Of course I changed it up a little. Start out with 2 cups of walnuts and 5 cloves of garlic. Pulse them in the food processor (or chop by hand) until they are small pieces but not powdered.
The put them on a cookie sheet and roast at 350 for about 15 minutes. Check them because there is nothing worse than a burnt nut. Once you start to smell them roasting, they should be done or close to it. You can shake the pan around a little to make sure the nuts and garlic are roasting evenly. I don't think Lidia did this step but my thinking was that since this mainly a sauce that is not cooked, the garlic and nuts being roasted can only add another level to it. And I'm not real crazy about raw garlic.
While the nuts are roasting, get a large pot of water boiling for your pasta. I used Gemelli this time. In a large bowl, take a big handful of fresh parsley, chopped. It ends up being about 1/3 cup of parsley. 1/4 cup of grated Parmesan or Romano cheese. 3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and do not forget to salt and pepper this! This can easily end up kind of bland. You really need to make sure you season the sauce and the pasta water.
Then add one 15 oz. container of ricotta. If you can get fresh, by all means do so. Around here, it's not always easy to come by. And being on a lighter eating regime, I opted for part skim ricotta. Mix all the ingredients together.
By this time the walnuts are probably done so remove them from the oven and allow to cool a little.
Once the pasta is done, reserve some of the cooking liquid just in case your sauce ends up being too thick. And then mix the pasta with the sauce. Add some water if necessary.
And then mix in the walnuts.
It's really wonderful. I had leftovers for several days and the nuts never got soggy.