Whether you make the pasta from scratch or buy it from a store, I heartily recommend using fresh pasta for this recipe. With no overwhelming sauce, the pasta really gets to shine here, so using good pasta is key.
Roasted garlic is one of my most favorite edible things on the planet. Usually, I think to slather it on bread, but it is also perfect for a pasta dish because it will blend in with the other ingredients and stick to the pasta. Yum!
Allow time to roast the garlic properly. Sauteed garlic will not give you the same depth of flavor! This worked out perfectly to roast the garlic while I was making the fresh pasta.
Roasted Garlic and Walnut Pasta with Sausage
adapted from The New Basics Cookbook
1 whole head of garlic
1/2 heaping cup walnut pieces
2 pre-cooked sausages, cut into 1/4" slices (I like Adelle's Chicken and Gruyere sausages)
handful chopped parsley
8oz. fresh linguine or spaghetti
salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Preheat oven to 375F
Peel off outer skin of garlic bulb and carefully cut of tops of each clove.
Place garlic in foil and drizzle with olive oil. Fold up foil tightly around garlic and cook for 1 hour. Test for squishiness at 50 minutes. It can take as long as 1 hour 15 minutes if it is a really big head of garlic. Once cooked, carefully open up foil and allow to cool a little before squeezing out all of the delicious garlic yumminess. You might want to go ahead and roast 2 while you are at it so you will have enough to put in the recipe and still eat some on the side!
Once you have your roasted garlic and fresh pasta, this goes very, very quickly.
Keep oven on after roasting garlic and spread walnuts out on a baking sheet and cook for about 5 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice. Set aside to cool. (You will no longer need the oven.)
Heat olive oil over moderate heat in a roomy saute pan or even a dutch oven. Add walnuts, the mashed roasted garlic and sausage. Gently saute for about 5-10 minutes, or until sausage is starting to brown.
Meanwhile, boil a giant pot of salted water. Fresh pasta needs lots of water otherwise it will cool too quickly and stop boiling once the pasta is added. Cook per package instructions of your desired fresh pasta. My homemade pasta cooked in less than 4 minutes.
Drain pasta and return to cooking pot. Toss with enough olive oil to coat and then toss with Parmesan and salt and pepper to taste. Add pasta along with parsley to garlic/walnut/sausage pan and toss again.
We couldn't stop oohing and aahing over the fresh pasta taste and the roasted garlic and the walnuts. You don't really need sausage even in this recipe. You might be tempted to start adding other veggies to this dish but you really want to let the garlic and walnuts and fresh pasta taste to come through. Hmmm, I might need to make this again soon!