Rag Noodles with Fresh Walnuts

3:19 am on 21 July 2007

This dish showcases one of the most appealing aspects of Italian cuisine - speed. The sauce is made in less time than it takes to cook the pasta.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 12 minutes
Serves 4 as a starter


  • 400g egg pasta lasagne or curly lasagne squares
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 50g (1/2 cup) fresh walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 Tbs chopped rosemary
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped (1 1/2 Tbsp chopped garlic)
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving


Put pasta in a plastic bag and gently whack it several times with a mallet to produce uneven and raggedy shapes. Cook pasta in a large saucepan of gently boiling, well-salted water until al dente.

While pasta is cooking, make sauce. Heat oil in a medium-sized frying pan over a medium heat and when it is hot, add the walnuts. Cook for 4-5 minutes, until the nuts are visibly colouring (don't let them get too dark).

When the pasta is nearly ready add rosemary and garlic (remove frying pan from the heat if pasta is not ready to be drained, then slip it back on the heat just before draining pasta). Cook for just a minute or two, until everything smells fragrant. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Drain pasta, turn it into a heated bowl then immediately tip on the walnut sauce. Toss well, and serve immediately with plenty of Parmesan cheese.


Before chopping walnuts, rub them between your hands to release as many of the skins as possible (they are bitter-tasting). Use soft and supple rosemary - if it's dry the spikes will be sharp and the flavour too pungent.

From Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

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