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Fusilli is full of flavor with cheese, walnuts

(ran TNS edition)

Fusilli With Blue Cheese and Toasted Walnuts is made with just five ingredients, but the combination is a winner.

The pasta curls are tossed with a rich blue-cheese sauce, sweet green peas and toasted walnuts.

The recipe, which takes about 25 minutes to make, is from the Good Housekeeping 100 Best Pasta Recipes (Hearst Books, 2003, $14.95), a treasure trove of dishes that the cook can have on the table, start to finish, in many cases in less than half an hour.

The book offers a range of options, with recipes for using meat, fish or cheese with pasta, and suggestions for accompaniments to serve with your pasta, including soups, sandwiches and salads.

As for fusilli, the twisted pasta is great for salads, side dishes and entrees because it matches well to any sauce, especially pesto.

By toasting the walnuts, it brings out their crunch and flavor, which can be further enhanced by adding dried or powdered spices.

Fusilli With Blue Cheese and Toasted Walnuts

Salt

16-ounce package fusilli or corkscrew pasta

cup half-and-half or light cream

{ cup water

} cup crumbled blue cheese (3 ounces) plus additional \ cup (1 ounce) for garnish

10-ounce package frozen peas, thawed

} cup walnuts, toasted (see note) and chopped

Fresh parsley sprigs for garnish (optional)

Preparation time: 10 minutes. Cooking time: 15 minutes.

Heat large sauce pot of salted water to boiling over high heat; add fusilli and cook as label directs.

Meanwhile, in 1-quart saucepan, heat half-and-half, \ teaspoon salt and water to simmering over medium heat. Stir in } cup crumbled blue cheese; heat through.

Place peas in a colander; drain the fusilli over peas.

In large serving bowl, toss pasta mixture with blue-cheese sauce and walnuts.

Sprinkle with remaining \ cup crumbled blue cheese and parsley sprigs, if you like.

Makes 4 main-dish servings.

Note: To toast walnuts, spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet, then bake in a 350-degree oven, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant.

Nutrition information per serving: about 765 calories, 28g protein, 101g carbohydrates, 28g total fat (9g saturated), 34mg cholesterol, 730mg sodium.

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