Nuts about pasta (pasta with four-nut pesto)
Spring is still struggling here in the Okanagan. It has been cold and windy. I am waiting to plant my herbs for the season and bring in the perennials to brighten up the planters outside. Some herbs are coming back after the cold winter: chives, oregano, even some of the thyme. Pretty amazing to see them pop up after being covered with snow and subjected to the vagaries of a Canadian winter.
I am still working on our extended (3 months) trip to Italy later this fall. We’ll begin the trip with a stay in Milan and I have rented an apartment in the prestigious Magenta district, in the center of the old city, close to the Galleria, the opera house Teatro alla Scala and famous cathedrals, including the Santa Maria delle Grazie where Da Vinci painted The Last Supper (every time I visit there the painting is being restored and viewing is partially obstructed by scaffolding and restoration artists at work).
Expo Milano 2015 is open now until the end at the end of October 2015. I look forward to taking in some of the food event and exhibitions. I have already contributed a recipe to the Expo website and they published it (you can find it here).
I am waiting to buy tickets to Verdi’s opera Falstaff playing at la Scala in Milan that week. Last time I was at la Scala I bought tickets on the street on the day of the sold out performance, paid a small fortune (“questi sono molto buoni posti” these are very good seats…) and ended up in a standing-room only gallery on the top tier, trying to get a peek at the stage through the giant chandelier suspended in mid air. Following the lead of other locals versed in the art of opera going I did wiggle my way downstairs and took an empty seat at some point, but I don’t want to repeat the experience. Let’s pretend that never happened.
I am looking forward to our stay in Milan and getting reacquainted with old favourites. There may be a trip to Lake Como from there. George Clooney, are you reading this?
So, in celebration of all things Italian I am cooking a lot of pasta these days (in truth, I always do, this is just an excuse to talk about it). One of my favourite pasta dishes is this one, made with a pesto-like mixture of four nuts and olive oil. It’s easy to make in a food processor and tends to get rave reviews from my family and invited friends. As I prefer to eat, it’s a simple dish yet packed with flavour from the nuts, olive oil, parsley, hot pepper flakes and lemon. The nut pesto is good as a spread over a crostini, sprinkled on a salad and to top a quick pizza. The recipe is adapted from Laura Calder recipe for Nutty Pasta as featured on the Cooking Channel ages ago. I wish they’d bring her back.
12 oz linguini
1/4 cup pistachios
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pinenuts
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1/3 cup olive oil
A handful flat leaf parsley
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup[ shredded parmesan
A few hot pepper flakes
Additional shaved parmesan
Combine the nuts in a large skillet and toast over medium heat until fragrant.
Let cool slightly, then place in a food processor and process until crumbly but don’t let it get pasty.
Remove from the processor, add the chopped parsley, oil, lemon zest and grated parmesan.
Taste and add salt.
Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water until al dente, then drain.
Toss the pasta with the pesto reserving some for garnish.
Drizzle with a little more olive oil if necessary and sprinkle a few hot pepper flakes (optional).
Grate more parmesan over the pasta and serve immediately.
You may also like: Pasta with herbed crumbs