Spicy Walnut Pasta

Valentine’s Day is THIS weekend you guys! It’ll be here before you know it, and rather than go out for a pre-fixe meal (literally my least favorite way to dine ever) why not whip up something spectacular at home like this Spicy Walnut Pasta!

Spicy Walnut Pasta from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Spicy Walnut Pasta is my current obsession when it comes to pasta and carbs (two things I feel very strongly about) and it makes the perfect main course. The pasta is to die for, I’ve been loving this Mafaldine cut of pasta that you can find at Trader Joes or online – and then the walnut sauce, made with California Walnuts, that goes on top is EVERYTHING. I know you guys are familiar with me using walnuts to make pestos on my weekly snapchat series – but they can be the star in a entree too! I’m partial to California Walnuts because hello, I’m a California Girl through and through! And I love supporting my local farmers!

Spicy Walnut Pasta from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

But back to the pasta…. you won’t miss the meat at all because the walnuts lend so much flavor to this dish! Add a little bit of salty Pecorino Romano and voila – dinner at home in a  flash! Serve it with up a glass of red wine, perhaps an easy salad or side dish like some pesto broccolini and of course a dessert! It’s not Valentine’s Day dinner without some chocolate, am I right? Enjoy!

Spicy Walnut Pasta from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin) Spicy Walnut Pasta from www.whatsgabycooking.com (@whatsgabycookin)

Spicy Walnut Pasta with Pecorino Romano

Yield: Serves 4-6

Spicy Walnut Pasta with Pecorino Romano


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound Mafaldine (or any other long pasta)
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
  2. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat till almost smoking. Add the garlic and cook until light golden brown, 30 seconds. Add half of the bread crumbs, chopped walnuts, and red pepper flakes and cook until lightly toasted, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to the package directions. Right before the pasta is done, add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water to the pan with the walnut mixture.
  4. Drain the pasta and add the pasta into the skillet with the walnut mixture, tossing to combine. Place the skillet over medium heat and toss until the pasta is lightly dressed with the sauce, about 1 minute. Add the parsley and cheese, stir through, pour into a heated bowl, sprinkle with the remaining bread crumbs, and serve immediately.

Photography by Matt Armendariz / Food Styling by Adam Pearson / Recipe by What’s Gaby Cooking

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  1. Malfadine is my new favorite pasta shape! I just bought it a couple weeks ago! Love this pasta for a date night!

  2. I’m with pre-fixe is the worst. But I also hate Valentine’s Day crowds too, so home cooked meals for that day is always my choice.

  3. Yum all the way around! I will have to look for this pasta – but the real winner is the walnut sauce. What a great idea!!

  4. How many will this serve & could 1/2 be frozen for another time?

    This looks scrummy & something new to try!

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