Sometimes (especially with 2 kids), simple (and quick) is just best. And, I hear walnuts are really good for the brain, so technically, this dish is healthy and good for you. There aren’t as many ingredients, but the combo of walnuts, heavy cream, and parmesan make it rich and hearty. Not to mention, the toasted walnuts add a nice, crunchy texture. The key is to toast the walnuts slowly at a lower temp but you need to make sure to keep watch (abandon your kids for a second here). Transfer them from pan to plate as soon as you smell that fragrant toastiness, they could keep cooking and can go from perfect to burnt in a second!
- ½ pound dry spaghetti
- ¼ cup finely chopped walnuts, plus more for garnish
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- ⅓ cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 2 tablespoons finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil (make sure your water has enough salt that it tastes like the ocean).
While the pasta is cooking, heat a dry (that means no oil) 10- or 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring, until fragrant and toasted, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the butter, swirl until melted, then add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and salt and cook, swirling, until thickened, 1 to 2 minutes.
When the pasta is ready, reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta, add the pasta to the pan and toss to coat, adding a little pasta water to loosen if necessary. Season with salt to taste.
Divide the pasta among 2 bowls and garnish with the cheese and toasted walnuts.