Wide pasta strips meet supremely nutty flavors in a bossy, glossy coating of brown butter spiked with walnuts and za'atar. You'll want this again. The recipe is fast and straightforward, and nearly elegant. I would not be opposed to serving it to guests with a roast pork tenderloin or, as the main, plus a lacy, acidic salad as the sidekick.
Notes: Butter is salted.
BROWN BUTTER & WALNUT WIDE PASTA
Ingredients: 8 ounces extra-wide pasta, 4 tbsp. butter, 1 tsp. minced garlic, 1/3 cup walnut pieces, 1/2 tsp. za'atar, 1/2 cracked pepper, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1 tbsp. freshly chopped parsley.
1. Cook pasta according to package directions in well-salted water. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of pasta water.
2. Heat butter over medium heat in a skillet, stirring regularly for 8-10 minutes. (When butter foams, turns brown, and smells nutty, it's ready.) Turn it down to low.
3. Remove butter from heat and add the walnuts, garlic, za'atar, and cracked pepper. Stir to combine. Tip in the pasta along with a small splash of pasta water. Place back on the heat and cook until the pasta is hot again.
4. Tumble the pasta onto a platter (or into bowls) and sprinkle over the Parmesan and chopped parsley.
Brown butter is a glorious thing, but it can burn quickly. The key is heating it slowly over medium heat, stirring or swirling frequently, and watching closely. The brown butter solids will separate and sink to the bottom, while the translucent and glossy butter stays on top. It will smell very nutty when ready but not smell burned.