This is one of the pasta recipes in my new book, Healthy Eating for Life.
You can prepare the nut mix beforehand and reheat it very gently when you come to cook the pasta– stress-free cooking, in principle!
Hazelnuts roasted are particularly more-ish*. Mixed with olive oil, chili and garlic and served, as here, with nutty wholewheat pasta, they are irresistible!
7oz wholewheat penne or spaghettini
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp hazelnut oil–if available
2 garlic cloves--pulped
2 small dry chilis–chopped
75gms roasted hazelnuts–chopped (I use the small container in a food mixer and pulse the nuts to control the finished size–crunchy little bits–not powder)
2/3 tbsp parsley–chopped
2 tbsp saved pasta water (i.e. the water that the pasta was cooked in!)
50gms parmesan cheese–grated
pecorino cheese–if available, a couple of tablespoons–bearing in mind its saltiness.
Heat both oils in a pan and add the garlic.
Colour it gently, taking care not to burn it.
Turn off the heat and remove the garlic from the pan to prevent it burning–a sieve with a metal net does this safely–and let it cool.
Add the chili to the warm oil in the pan.
Gently reheat the oil and chili in the pan.
Add the hazelnuts and the parsley to the pan and cook briefly over a low heat–about three minutes.
Turn off the heat and mix in the sautéed garlic.
Bring a large pan of water to the boil with a dash of salt.
Add the pasta and cook it to taste.
When the pasta is done as you like it–drain, remembering to save 3 or 4 tablespoons of the water.
Return the pasta to the warm pan you cooked it in and add the nuts, parsley, garlic and cheese(s) and mix thoroughly.
Add a couple of tablespoons of the warm pasta water to loosen the sauce a little.
Add salt to taste.
Serve immediately (it cools down quickly)–with extra cheese and a swirl of olive oil, if you like.
*To roast the hazelnuts:
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Spread the hazelnuts over a shallow oven tray and place in the oven.
Check after 5 minutes. Taste and fragrance are the guide.
Taste one to check for crunchy doneness–roast them a little longer if you feel they need it.
Cooking time depends on their size and your oven!
Let them cool before processing them.