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Dinner in 30 Minutes

Wednesday, October 20, 2004; Page F03

Linguine With Walnuts and Arugula

4 to 6 servings

Contrasting but complementary flavors lend a sure but subtle force to this simple pasta dish.

Adapted from "Everyday Dining With Wine" by Andrea Immer (Broadway, 2004).

3/4 pound fettuccine or other thin, flat noodle

1/3 to 1/2 cup walnut pieces

About 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 large cloves garlic, minced

2 cups tightly packed baby arugula leaves, washed and dried

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

Handful red seedless grapes or stemmed fresh figs, halved

1/4 cup grated manchego, Parmigiano- Reggiano or pecorino cheese OR 1/3 cup pitted, chopped olives (optional)

Cook the pasta according to package directions.

While the pasta is cooking, place the walnuts in a large dry skillet over medium heat and cook, shaking the pan frequently, until they are fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board, chop coarsely and set aside.

Return the skillet to medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat until warm. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the garlic softens and begins to turn golden, about 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Transfer the pasta to the skillet with the garlic, return the skillet to medium heat and stir in the arugula and the remaining 4 tablespoons of oil. Cook, tossing frequently, to coat the pasta with the oil and to wilt the arugula, about 2 minutes. If the pasta seems dry, add a little of the reserved pasta water to moisten. Add the walnuts and toss to combine.

Remove the pasta from the heat, season with salt, more pepper than you think you should, additional oil to taste, grapes or figs and, if desired, cheese or olives (but not both; it will be too salty). Serve immediately.

Per serving (based on 6): 484 calories, 9 gm protein, 46 gm carbohydrates, 30 gm fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 4 gm saturated fat, 53 mg sodium, 2 gm dietary fiber

-- Renee Schettler

© 2004 The Washington Post Company