Pasta is good, I'm sure most of you will agree. But it isn't necessarily meaty, all on it's own. Sometimes you just want something to taste a little meaty, without the meat. Recently, I have some sort of aversion to nearly any kind of meat, and I like meat. Perhaps am just a little holidayed out. Of course I still want something hearty, and inextricably delicious. For a pasta recipe that excludes tomato sauce, pesto sauce, or just plain old butter, this is a little heaven on a plate. It's also nice to be able to make something from scratch. It doesn't always happen in every sense, but I do love to make my own pasta, even if it isn't as often as I would like. It is always spectacularly romantic to make something from scratch, perhaps a good Valentine's dish? Hint, hint. I have found one surefire way to make pasta dough fairly reliably, and it works pretty darn well since it's much easier. Plus it gets me making my own pasta a lot more often. I'm sure some of you will laugh, some of you may scoff, but hey, it works. And I'm not going to mess with something that works, especially when it prevents me from wearing flour from head-to-toe, as comical as that is. Just go ahead and use the food processor. Yep, you heard me, it combines everything evenly and even kneads the dough. I start with 2 cups of flour, 2 eggs, a little salt, and 2 teaspoons of finely chopped rosemary. This should serve four people, although not exactly gluttonous portions. I add all the ingredients to the food processor, turn it on, and let it mix. I add a little extra virgin olive oil, and let it go again. If it starts to really combine into a ball, I'll let it whiz a little more. If not, then more olive oil. Essentially, keep going in this manner (add a quick drizzle of olive oil and wait), and as soon as it gets anywhere near to a ball, then definitely stop adding oil. It is important not to have dough that is too oily to even stick together. Once it has started to combine more thoroughly, then allow the processor to continue to combine until the dough comes together into a ball. Then, allow it to continue to knead for no more than 10 seconds. You can find the original recipe hiding somewhere in the NYTimes online... last seen 5 years ago. After the pounding in the food processor, I wrap the dough with plastic wrap and let it rest at least a 1/2 hour. Soon, it's time for some stretching, and lengthening to make sure it grows up big and tall. Cut the dough into four portions. Using, the traditional hand-cranked pasta maker, I run each piece of dough through on the widest setting. Next, I use the thinnest setting, or the next closest thing, if I want something a little thicker. Then I add on the linguine attachment, and spin through some beautiful linguine. There are longer methods, but I found there is a wider margin for error in running the dough through too many times. The rest of this recipe is adapted from the Greens Cookbook by Deborah Madison, and this recipe can dazzle with its simplicity. After a few years of making this, I have found that the onions need more time to caramelize, the garlic needs more time to cook, the addition of pasta water makes it too watery, and I don't always have walnut oil on hand. So it has evolved a little along the way. I should probably tell you that a few years ago, I gave some of this pasta dough, along with this recipe as a gift. I had made the recipe, and thought it was quite delicious. However, the recipe, even without the pasta has proved so popular that the gift recipient continues to makes the dish over and over again, and absolutely adores it. I hope you do too! The onions are sautéed with the herbs, creating an irresistible aroma, and enhancing an insatiable appetite. I don't worry about chopping the walnuts too much. A little rough gives it some character, and the final dish a little crunch. Pasta with Caramelized Onions and Walnuts 1 package of linguine, or rosemary pasta (as above) 1/2 cup walnuts, lightly toasted 2 onions 2 tbsp butter 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped 2 tsp fresh sage, finely chopped 1 tsp fresh thyme leave, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, minced 1/2 cup dry white wine 3/4 cup Gruyére cheese, finely chopped or grated salt, as needed 1. Thinly slice the onions. Meanwhile, in a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat, warm the butter and extra virgin olive oil until just beginning to bubble. Add the onions, and season lightly with salt. 2. After the onions have sautéed on medium-low heat for approximately 20 minutes, add the fresh herbs, and continue to sauté on low heat until the onions are nearly tender. Try not to let the onions brown and dry out. Then add the garlic, and continue to cook until the onions have a golden caramel colour, and are very tender. 3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and prepare pasta as directed on the package, but undercook slightly. Alternatively, using the rosemary pasta from above, cooking until just tender, 1-2 minutes. 3. Add the white wine, and stir to combine. Once the wine has a "syrupy" consistency, add a little drizzle of your best quality extra-virgin olive oil, or walnut oil if desired. 4. Stir 1/4 cup (half) of the walnuts, and all of the Gruyére into the onion mixture, and stir until just combined. Taste, and season with more salt if desired. 5. Drain the pasta, and immediately add it into the onion mixture. Combine carefully with tongs, or two wooden spoons. 6. Add a few more walnuts to each plate before serving; serve immediately. Pairs very well with the remaining dry white wine used to add to the onions, or a light red wine, perhaps something French.