This very simple dish is both vegetarian (not vegan), and takes almost no time to make!
There are many different twists on how to make it, from adding ricotta, milk or cream, bread or breadcrumbs, boiling the walnuts for up to 45 minutes, or not at all. Here is what I did:
I began with this fun pasta I picked up in Little Italy in San Diego. It is called "Colonne Pompeii" (Columns of Pompeii). The twisty spirals, like huge fusilli are great for attaching a thicker sauce.
1 c. walnuts
1/4 c. plus a splash of cream
2 slices of "crappy white bread" (I used my 45 calorie "diet bread")
1 "drizzle" of olive oil (about a T.)
1/4 c. parmigiano
I boiled the walnuts for less than 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Put the nuts into a food processor, and process until they are finely ground.. Soak 2 slices of bread in 1/4 c. cream, then tear them into small pieces and add to nuts. Add remaining cream, 1/2 t. salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Process until you have a thick paste. Boil pasta, saving some of the pasta water. Place nut mixture in serving bowl. Toss with hot pasta, and a couple large serving spoons of pasta water. Garnish with fresh thyme and additional cheese if desired.
Note: This pasta is very rich and filling. I could only eat about half of my serving.