This sauce can be made in advance; it will keep for up to 2 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. Heat gently before tossing with hot, freshly cooked pasta.
8 ounces vermicelli
½ cup ricotta cheese
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts, preferably toasted
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon butter, softened
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil or
1 teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper, or to taste
Freshly ground pepper, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, cherry tomatoes, and steamed broccoli florets for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat; add the vermicelli. When the water returns to a boil, stir occasionally to separate the pasta. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook until al dente, about 9 to 11 minutes, or according to package instructions.
White the pasta is cooking, process the ricotta cheese, yogurt, walnuts, Parmesan, butter, and garlic in a food processor until smooth. Stir in the remaining ingredients. Transfer to a small nonstick saucepan; heat, stirring occasionally, just until warm.
When the pasta is done, drain well. Return to the pot; add the sauce and toss. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Paulette Mitchell, a culinary instructor, television personality, spokesperson, freelance food writer, and the award-winning author of 13 cookbooks, is known internationally for her quick-to-prepare recipes with gourmet flair. Paulette's most recently published cookbook is "The Complete 15-Minute Gourmet: Creative Cuisine Made Fast and Fresh." She is also the author of "A Beautiful Bowl of Soup" and "The Spirited Vegetarian," which was voted "Best Book in the World on Cooking with Wine" at the 2005 Gourmand World Media Awards. Paulette says that international travel is her favorite source of culinary inspiration.