A Simple Pasta Dinner with Walnuts, Raisins and Kale

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A Simple Pasta Dinner with Walnuts, Raisins and Kale

February 12, 2024
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A Simple Pasta Dinner with Walnuts, Raisins and Kale

This simple pasta dinner recipe – a California riff on Pasta Foriana or Spaghetti alla Foriana, is pantry and budget friendly, a meatless option that doesn’t miss on flavor, and is truly delicious.

If you’re a fan of throwing incredible meals together in a hurry, or looking for a fabulous late night pasta recipe, this is for you.

About this simple pasta dinner recipe:

Our take on Pasta Foriana pulls inspiration from its rustic Mediterranean namesake, combining meaty
walnuts with fresh garlic, sweet raisins, kale, Fresno chili, oregano, and California extra virgin olive oil to create a sauce that just so happens to be vegan (sans the cheese topping). No tomatoes? No problem–you won’t miss them here!
Always in season ingredients from California make this a year-round comfort meal that comes together in minutes. Switch it up with chili flakes or swirl in some butter with the EVOO: this is about to be your go-to pasta recipe. And late night pasta fans will be all over this too.

Wait, is dried fruit in pasta a thing?

Dried fruit with pasta is totally a thing, and has been for years. Don’t believe it? Check out Anya Kassoff’s Portobello Bolognese Pasta on Food52 or the Mariani family’s Spaghetti Sauce. Both use prunes as a key ingredient. Then of course there’s Pasta Foriana, Spaghetti allo Scammaro, Jeff Mauro’s Spinach, Walnut and Golden Raisin Pesto Pasta with Sausage, Marcella Hazan’s late night pasta and numerous Sicilian pasta recipes that call for raisins. Dried fruit adds texture as well as a touch of sweetness – and when you consider that Italian cooks often add a touch of sugar to their tomato sauce, it makes sense, right?

a plate of simple pastamade with pantry staple ingredients

Plus, Italian cooks are often adept at creating something delicious with whatever they have on hand, and generally embrace dried fruits in a number of ways.

What are the ingredients for this simple pasta dinner?

You just need a few ingredients for this pantry and budget friendly California riff on Pasta Foriana. You probably have most of them in your pantry now!

  • garlic
  • walnut halves
  • pine nuts (or more walnuts)
  • dried oregano
  • California extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresno chili (or red chili flakes)
  • kosher salt & black pepper
  • California raisins (golden, blend or regular will do!)
  • kale (or chard, spinach or leafy greens)
  • bucatini or thick pasta noodles
  • red wine vinegar
  • aged California cheddar/hard cheese

Now, let’s get cooking! This is a simple meal you’re going to love. Serve it up with a glass of your favorite California wine, and enjoy your incredible (and easy!) meal.

a simple pasta dinner: California Grown Pasta Foriana with garlic, walnuts, pine nuts, California extra virgin olive oil, Fresno chili, raisins, lacinato kale on a plate

A Simple Pasta Dinner: California-Style Pasta Foriana

James Collier + Danny Alas
This simple pasta dinner recipe – a California riff on Pasta Foriana or Spaghetti alla Foriana – is pantry and budget friendly, a meatless option that isn't missing on flavor, and is truly delicious. It's loaded with flavor from California grown ingredients including walnuts, garlic, raisins, kale, and optional-but-encouraged Fresno chilies, swirled together with California extra virgin olive oil.
If you're a fan of throwing incredible meals together in a hurry, or looking for a fabulous late night pasta recipe, this is for you.
3.25 from 79 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American, California, Italian
Servings 4 servings
Calories 615 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 food processor optional

Ingredients
 
 

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup California walnut halves
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 2 TBSP dried oregano
  • ¼ cup California extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Fresno chili sliced then
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ cup golden or combo California raisins
  • 2 cups chopped lacinato kale
  • 8 oz bucatini or thick pasta noodle cooked according to package instructions, 1 cup of pasta water reserved
  • 1 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 2 oz aged California cheddar grated

Instructions
 

  • Using a food processor, pulse the garlic cloves until finely chopped. Add the walnut halves and pulse until evenly chopped and coarse in texture. Pour in the pine nuts and dried oregano and pulse just to combine (you could also use a high-powered blender or chop finely by hand.)
  • Warm the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Spread the walnut mixture in an even layer and toast in the oil for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant. Stir and continue toasting another 2 minutes, being careful not to scorch the garlic.
  • Add the sliced chili, season with salt and pepper, and cook another 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • Next, stir in the raisins and the kale and cook until the kale starts to wilt, 3-4 minutes. Pour in ½ cup of the reserved pasta water and simmer for 5 minutes to thicken the sauce.
  • Stir in the red wine vinegar, taste, and season to your preference with additional salt or pepper. Add pasta water as needed for a saucier consistency.
    making a simple pasta dinner, California Grown Pasta Foriana in cast iron pan
  • Remove the pan from the heat, add the cooked pasta, and toss to combine. Divide amongst 4 plates and top with a generous sprinkle of the grated cheese to serve!

Video

Notes

Any leftover pasta is fabulous in a frittata the next day.

Nutrition

Calories: 615kcalCarbohydrates: 65gProtein: 16gFat: 35gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 12gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 979mgPotassium: 509mgFiber: 6gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 1348IUVitamin C: 28mgCalcium: 213mgIron: 3mg
Keyword pasta, Vegetarian
Tried this recipe?Mention @cagrownofficial or tag #CAGROWN!

Love this Simple Pasta Dinner? Try these pasta recipes too:

Vegetarian Bolognese from Food52

Portobello Bolognese Pasta on Food52

Anya Kassoff, of the popular blog Golubka Kitchen, shares her recipe for Portobello Bolognese Pasta on Food52, and this meatless pasta recipe looks like a winner!

If mushroom-laden pasta is your jam, check out this Mushroom Ragu from G-Free Foodie too.

Creamy Baked Penne with Chicken, Dried Figs and Walnuts in a casserole dish

Creamy Penne with Chicken, Figs + Walnuts

This Creamy Penne with Chicken gets tons of taste and texture from figs and walnuts – both from California. Plus, Real California Dairy really makes the creamy, cheesy sauce. 

Fans of this recipe will probably love Marcella Hazan’s “late night pasta” recipe too!

Lemon Garlic Butter Pasta with Olives_Jerry James Stone

Lemon Garlic Butter Pasta with Olives

This Lemon Garlic Butter Pasta with Olives recipe by Jerry James Stone is easy to make and easy to eat. You’ll love the bright, zesty lemon paired with briny olives and a crunchy panko topping – add a handful of walnuts for even more texture and a little more protein too!

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