Hazelnut Pasta 2.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Dinner in Minutes Aug 2, 2016

What a treat this is for hazelnut lovers: A pestolike sauce of the chopped toasted nuts, dried chiles, garlic, parsley and oil is tossed with whole-grain gemelli or penne. The blend of Italian cheeses brings everything together.

Serve with a salad of peppery greens.


Servings:
2 - 3

When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 2-3 servings

Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup (3 ounces) skinned hazelnuts
  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 small dried chile peppers (may substitute 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes; omit the chilies’ chopping step)
  • Leaves from 2 to 4 stems flat-leaf parsley
  • Kosher or fine sea salt
  • 7 ounces dried whole-wheat penne or dried gemelli
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for optional drizzling
  • 1 teaspoon hazelnut oil (optional)
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved or grated
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated pecorino Romano cheese

Directions

Bring a pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the nuts for 5 to 7 minutes or until fragrant and lightly browned, with a slight sheen. Cool slightly, then coarsely chop by hand or in a mini-food processor.

Meanwhile, use the flat side of a chef’s knife to smash the garlic cloves (to taste) on a cutting board, then mince and smash to form a coarse paste. Seed, then chop the dried chiles. Chop the parsley.

Add a generous pinch of salt and the pasta to the boiling water; cook according to the package directions until al dente (slightly underdone).

As the pasta cooks, heat the olive oil and hazelnut oil, if using, in a medium saute pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for a few minutes, until fragrant. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the garlic to a small bowl (so it doesn't darken further).

Add the chopped dried chiles to the saute pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, then stir in the parsley. Use a Microplane zester to grate the Parmigiano-Reggiano over the saute pan, then add the pecorino-Romano to the pan as well.

Drain the pasta, reserving 2 to 3 tablespoons of its cooking water. Add the pasta to the saute pan, along with the chopped hazelnuts, sauteed garlic and some or all of the reserved cooking water, as needed. Toss to coat evenly; taste, and add salt, as needed.

Divide among individual wide, shallow bowls; drizzle each portion with a little more olive oil, if desired. Serve right away.

NOTE: To skin hazelnuts, bring a few inches of water to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add about 1 teaspoon of baking soda and then the hazelnuts. Boil for several minutes, until the water turns dark brown and the skins begin to easily peel off the nuts. (You can test one by removing it from the pot, running it under cool water and seeing how well the skin slips off.) Drain the nuts, let them cool until you can handle them, and then use your fingers to remove the skins.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from “Mediterranean Cooking for Diabetics: Delicious Dishes to Control or Avoid Diabetes,” by Robin Ellis (Robinson, 2016).

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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