Spaghettini with walnut sauce and goat cheese fonduta

Although very popular in Italy, walnut sauce tossed with pasta is almost never seen in the United States – I guess the sauce has too many rivals with more stature and fame! But walnuts make a most satisfying sauce, especially in the fall and winter months when nuts are at their freshest.

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Fregola with kale pesto and poached eggs-Pecorino Romano shavings

Fregola (also known as “fregula” or “fregola sarda”) is a type of pasta from Sardinia, made with semolina flour, that’s rolled into tiny balls and then toasted in the oven. The tiny pasta balls might be dainty-looking, but don’t be fooled… this pasta is as bold and hearty as can be! Indeed, the toasted flavor of the pasta is quite prominent and demands a sauce that will stand up to it – the reason fregola is traditionally served with tomato-based sauces.

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Linguini fini with braised leeks and fresh goat cheese-cured olive caviar

Leeks, like all members of the onion family, have the wonderful attribute of acquiring a sweet, delicate flavor when cooked… especially when gently cooked, as in this pasta. Here the leeks are braised along with red onions to create the most succulent base for the linguini. The garnish of the creamy, slightly tangy fresh goat cheese and the salty cured olives brings a marvelous contrast to all that sweetness.

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Caserecci with yellow tomato sauce and roasted fennel-Asiago shavings

Here’s another recipe that’s ideally suited to the transitional weeks of summer into fall. The richly flavored (but still light) tomato sauce is paired with roasted fennel and young Asiago cheese shavings. The roasted fennel brings a marvelous depth to the sauce, while the Asiago adds a touch of saltiness – both elements a delightful contrast to the sweetness of the tomatoes.

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Yellow tomato sauce with fennel seeds and saffron

There’s a catch with this tomato sauce: when you serve it to guests, they have no idea what it is or what to expect! Indeed, we’ve all been trained to think that tomato sauce should be red.

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