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Walnuts and Hot Honey-Palooza!

So, for health reasons, I've been eating a lot of walnuts lately. I won't bore you with the details of the why. However, I've come to really love them. Besides eating them raw as a snack, I've also been experimenting on ways to incorporate them into recipes. Tonight it's just me and the boys - my partner Sean and my son Emiel - having dinner at home. So, I whipped up two dishes that use both walnuts and a condiment I am obsessed with - hot honey. They both turned out great. Spicy and Nutty Dinner night!

First I made an entree - Tortellini with Browned Butter and Walnut Sauce. Super easy. First I made a little balsamic sauce - combining 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar and 2 heaping teaspoons of hot honey in a saucepan, cooking for 4-5 minutes over medium heat until thick and syrup-like. I also cooked up about a pound of spicy Italian sausage, broken into large rustic style chunks.

Then, I cooked up a package of tortellini, per instructions, and also reserved about a cup of pasta water (I always save some for sauces). In a different saucepan, melt 1 half stick of butter with a bunch of sage leaves and a cup of chopped walnuts, and let these all cook together until the butter browns, about five minutes.

Stir in the cup of pasta water, and cook for a few more minutes until a nice brown butter sauce is ready to go. Toss all of this together (I'd throw in a large pinch of kosher salt as well) in a large bowl. Throw on some parmesan, and drizzle your hot honey balsamic sauce over the top. If you have extra sage leaves, you could always do a quick fry of them (with a little salt post-fry), and throw those on top.

For a vegetable side, I served up some charred broccoli - took a bag of florets, and tossed in a bowl with a few tablespoons of olive oil and a dash of water. Spread on a cookie sheet and bake at 450 for about 15 minutes, until they are charred on the edges and cooked well. When done, I just tossed in a bowl with a few tablespoons of chopped walnuts, a heaping tablespoon of the hot honey, a splash of lime juice, and a tablespoon of finely chopped basil (you can also use mint). I also added a teaspoon of diced jalapeno. Stir well and voila. You have a spicy and nutty two-fer.

Enjoy! Until next time.

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