Penne with Creamy Walnut Sauce

Serve with Broiled Zucchini with Herbs and/or sliced tomatoes with balsamic vinegar.

Author:Inspired by Moosewood Low-Fat, pg. 213
Yield:6 servings
Prep time: 00:20
Category:Main Courses


10 oz. fresh spinach
1/2 cups walnut halves, coarsely chopped
2 cups low-fat cottage cheese
1 cloves garlic
1/4 cups Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cups fresh basil, chopped and loosely packed
1/2 tsp. salt
 ground black pepper, to taste
1 - 1 1/2 lb. penne pasta
1 heads broccoli
 Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)


  1. Toast walnuts in a single layer on an un-oiled baking tray in a conventional or toaster oven at 350 °F (165 °C) until fragrant and golden brown, about 5 minutes. Coarsely chop the walnuts.
  2. Bring a large covered pot of water to a rapid boil.
  3. While the water heats, wash the spinach and transfer it to a separate large pot. The water clinging to the leaves should provide enough moisture to steam it. Cover and cook the spinach on medium-high heat for about 4 minutes, until wilted but still bright green. Drain.
  4. In a food processor or blender, combine the spinach, walnuts, cottage cheese, garlic, Parmesan, basil, and salt and purée until smooth, working in batches if necessary. Add pepper to taste and set aside.
  5. When the water boils, stir in the pasta, cover, and return to a boil. Then uncover the pot and cook until the paste is al denta, about 7 minutes.
  6. While the pasta cooks, cut the broccoli into spears, blanch it in boiling water to cover until just tender, about 5 minutes, and set it aside.
  7. Drain the pasta and serve immediately in individual warmed bowls, topped with spinach-walnut sauce and several steamed broccoli spears. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, if you wish.


Nutrition Facts

6 servings per recipe

Serving size 1 serving

Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 10g15%
Saturated Fat 3g15%
Trans Fat
Cholesterol 11mg4%
Sodium 660mg28%
Total Carbohydrate 67g22%
Dietary Fiber 6g24%
Total Sugars
Includes Added Sugars
Protein 28g

The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrition in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.