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Spaghetti with Portabellas, Sage & Walnuts


Serves 4

  • by from Fine Cooking
    Issue 57

Few weeknight meals are as quick and easy as pasta, but if you find yourself falling into a pasta rut, look to the season for inspiration. In this dish, mushrooms, sage, and walnuts turn ordinary spaghetti into the perfect fall meal. The mix is filling, flavorful, and a welcome diversion from traditional sauce.

  • 3/4 lb. dried spaghetti
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 3 large portabella mushroom caps, gills scraped out and discarded, caps thinly sliced and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2/3 cup loosely packed fresh sage leaves
  • 1/3 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until it’s tender but still firm to the tooth, about 9 min. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and 2 Tbs. of the butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until the butter is melted. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until they’re brown and tender, 4 to 5 min. Transfer the mushrooms to a bowl and set aside.

In the same sauté pan, melt the remaining 6 Tbs. butter over medium heat. Add the sage leaves, and cook, stirring occasionally until they darken and crisp and the flecks of milk solids in the butter are golden brown, 3 to 5 min. Return the mushrooms to the pan and pile in the walnuts, the cooked pasta, and 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Toss the pasta continuously with tongs to coat well, adding more water as needed so the pasta is moist, 1 to 2 min. (If your skillet isn’t big enough, you can toss everything together in the pasta pot.) Season with salt and pepper, mound into bowls, and sprinkle generously with the Parmigiano. Serve immediately.

Serving Suggestions

A fall salad like Chicory with Walnuts and Parmesan makes a nice start to the meal.

nutrition information (per serving):
Size : based on four servings, Calories (kcal): 750, Fat (kcal): 44, Fat Calories (g): 400, Saturated Fat (g): 18, Protein (g): 18, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 16, Carbohydrates (mg): 72, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 7, Sodium (g): 670, Cholesterol (g): 70, Fiber (g): 5,

Photo: Scott Phillips

Delicious! Came together quick and easy. Made sauteed garlic spinach on the side and also added chopped garlic to the sautees mushrooms. Yum!

Second time of making it - we obtained enough sage this time (home grown). We added one clove of garlic crushed to the cooking mushrooms which we think enhanced the dish. Do toast the walnuts adequately - 5 mins at 190c was not quite enough and adding a cup of the pasta water was really worth while (we did not do the first time round.) Although it looks a little unhealthy because of the butter and Parmesan these are not now thought to be bad for you even in these quantities. This is a delicious recipe - try it!

What a wonderful meal. This recipe is EXCELLENT. The secret is to make sure to saute the sage until crisp and really brown the butter as directed, and to toast the walnuts. I also grated real parmigiano reggiano cheese. For two of us I cut the recipe back to 8 oz. spaghetti and 2 portabellas, and adjusted the remaining ingredients. So easy and quick--a great recipe.

Excellent, easy to make on busy week nights! Nice dish for cool fall evenings.

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