Per my weekly menu, the meal of the evening was Heidi’s Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti. I hadn’t made it before but I’ve made several other recipes from 101 Cookbooks with great success – they have all been easy and absolutely delicious (btw, the link’s in my blog roll) – so I had faith that this one would also turn out well.
I was not disappointed. It was pretty simple and really. good. To the point where D and I each had two bowls and then he had a little more. And I almost thought I’d have to resort to fisticuffs to leave enough for my lunch tomorrow.
A couple of things: I couldn’t find farro pasta at the store so I went with another textured whole grain pasta. Instead of roasting the walnuts in the oven, I used the Kath method of microwaving them for 1.5 minutes. Instead of marjoram I used oregano. And both the parsley and oregano were dried. Yikes! As my coworker would say, I’ve yet again completely butchered a recipe with my own modifications but it’s what I had so I went with it. And, yet, somehow, it was still delicious, so much so that five minutes in D said, “Add this one to your rotation.” and I said, “Mmmm, oh definitely.” The fact that it uses whole grain pasta, walnuts, and olive oil also makes it pretty nutritious.
I take no credit for anything below this sentence. Enjoy!
Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti
Use a short pasta here, I happened to have a farro strozzapreti, which was great, the sauce got caught up in its little curls. In the book Mona uses a ruffled edge farro pizzichi.
3/4 cup / 3.5 oz / 100g walnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled, germ removed if garlic sprouted
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
2/3 cup / 5oz / 150ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons marjoram, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup / 1 oz / 30 g pecorino Romano, grated
salt & pepper
1 pound / 16 oz / 460g short farro pasta
Start by heating a large pot of water, it will take a while for it to come to a boil.
In the meantime, toast the walnuts in a 350F / 175C degree oven until they are golden, 8-10 minutes. While still warm, wrap them in a clean dish towel and rub off the skins.
Place the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, and pound to a fine paste. Add the walnuts to the mortar and pestle and pound into a paste. Alternately, you can do this in a food processor.
Transfer the nut mixture to a bowl. Stir in the olive oil, then add most of the herbs. Stir in the pecorino, taste, and adjust the seasoning.
Salt the pasta water generously, and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and reserve a big cup of the pasta water. Toss the walnut pesto with the pasta, and thin out the sauce with the reserved water. Serve topped with a sprinkling of the remaining herbs.
This recipe was adapted from Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs by Editors of Phaidon Press. Published by Phaidon Press (November 16, 2009).