IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Keep weeknight dinners easy with cheesy walnut pasta and big-batch vinaigrette

Carla Lalli Music makes quick work of dinner with a simple pasta and salad.
/ Source: TODAY

Cookbook author, food writer and culinary content producer Carla Lalli Music is joining TODAY to share two easy, delicious, any-day recipes from her newest cookbook, "That Sounds So Good: 100 Real-Life Recipes for Every Day of the Week: A Cookbook." She shows us how to make cheesy pasta with walnuts and a big batch of homemade vinaigrette.

TODAY has affiliate relationships, so we may get a small share of the revenue from your purchases. Items are sold by the retailer, not by TODAY.

Pasta Cacio e Walnut

Pasta Cacio e Walnut

Carla Lalli Music

Cacio is an Italian word for sheep's-milk cheese, and this is a variation on pasta cacio e pepe (literally "pasta with cheese and pepper"), which was one of the inexpensive but extremely satisfying dinners I made a lot when I was in college. The toasted nuts add some crunch, which will make you appreciate the creaminess of the sauce that much more. If you're hustling, you can definitely chop the parsley and grate the cheeses while the pasta is cooking, but do these bits of prep ahead of time if you're at all hesitant about your kitchen speed. I like to cook the pasta in a big (6-quart) Dutch oven, which is the ideal vessel for finishing the pasta in the sauce, but a large pasta pot will work, too (make sure you're stirring all the way down to the bottom of the pot).

Big-Batch Vinaigrette

Big-Batch Vinaigrette

Carla Lalli Music

Growing up, there was a big glass bottle of this vinaigrette on the counter at all times. There still is. My mom, Carole, makes it by the big-batch in her food processor and it's what we use on our almost-nightly after-dinner salads. As far as I can tell, it does not go bad, but if you don't make salads very often, divide this in half and keep one on the counter and the other in the fridge.

If you like those family-friendly recipes, you should also try these:

Chicken Cutlets with Spicy Coconut Dressing