Pasta with Spring Greens

This meal in one dish combines nuts, spring greens, pasta and cheese. Think of it as a leafy pasta primavera.

Pasta with Spring Greens

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  • Prep Time


  • Total Time


  • Servings



  • 1

    cup walnuts

  • 8

    packed cups of spring greens (your preference, for example baby Swish chard, baby kale, baby spinach)

  • ½

    pound orecchiette pasta

  • 6

    tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter

  • Generous ¼ cup grated Pecorino cheese plus extra for serving

  • Salt and freshly cracked pepper to taste


Toast walnuts: Cook nuts in a small sauté pan over medium heat until slightly browned and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Watch closely and stir occasionally to avoid burning the nuts. Remove from pan and place in a clean towel. Rub walnuts in the towel to remove papery skin. Transfer to a sieve and shake again until most skin has fallen away. Place greens in a large bowl and cover with cold water. Let greens soak about 5 minutes to allow dirt to settle to the bottom of the bowl. Scoop out greens and place in a large colander to drain. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Remove ½ cup pasta water. Then drain the balance of cooking liquid into the colander with greens. In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Once butter begins to turn brown and has a nutty smell, remove from heat. (Once the pasta is done and greens are ready to add, you will bring the butter up to temperature.) Rewarm butter over medium to medium-high heat and add pasta and greens to pan. Add walnuts and toss all to coat. Grate cheese over pasta mixture and toss again. If making ahead, the reserved pasta water will help loosen up the pasta mixture in the reheating process. Add a little at a time. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve pasta with additional cheese on the side.


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