Wish Upon A Dish: Spaghetti with Roasted Garlic Hazelnut Sauce

March 11, 2013

Spaghetti with Roasted Garlic Hazelnut Sauce

Italians love nuts and most best known for the use of the pignoli nut in savory dishes and the hazelnut (and sometimes labeled as filberts) in sweet preparations. Diabetics should embrace the Mediterranean countries love of all nuts and put them into savory applications.

Pignoli's can be very expensive. At Whole Foods the pignoli's in the bulk section come from Turkey @$24 a per pound. Yikes!!
I do not recommend the ones from China, you might find yourself with a case of Pine Nut Mouth. It's a bad aftertaste that lingers in your mouth for up to 48 hours. While not life threatening, the chemicals used to shell the nuts in Asia are mostly responsible. I have bought Chinese nuts but have not since I read about all those chemicals. China's non existent Center For Disease Control doesn't care if there is lead in their nuts, they won't miss a million people.

My whole reason for creating these meal plans is two fold, make dishes that diabetics can easily make using items they can find in their stores, and feed them to their family at a cost they can live with.
Pine nuts are essential to pesto's so I remedy this nut problem with combining a small amount of Italian pine nuts with other nuts, usually walnuts.
In this recipe I chose to use hazelnuts and I made a good choice. Hazelnuts should cost no more than other standard nuts, like walnuts, pecans and almonds, but they do require some work to skin them.
I have a surefire technique that loosens those skins right off so all you have to do is dry them and toast them.
If you find you like the taste of hazelnuts but hate the skinning process, you can buy them already skinned for pennies more a pound at nuts.com. I just love that site, go check it out.

One more thing, we all know that nuts should be either refrigerated in tight lidded containers or in the freezer in appropriate bags. They will keep for as long as you will use them, which won't be long.

To skin hazelnuts: Put 2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda to boil. Drop the nuts into the water, lower to a gentle simmer for 5 minutes. As soon as you see the skins lifting, shut the water off, let the nuts sit for 2 more minutes and then rinse in cold water. Small pieces of skins (if they bother you) will slide off using a paper towel.

I recommend starting with a small mixed garden salad or a bowl of vegetable soup.

Spaghetti with Roasted Garlic-Hazelnut Sauce
makes 4 servings as a side and 2 servings as a main meal

* 2 cups cooked thin spaghetti
* 3/4 ounce shelled hazelnuts, roasted and chopped, retain 1 tablespoon for garnish
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 tablespoon nut oil (optional)
* 1/4 teaspoon salt
* 3-4 cloves garlic, roasted
* 2 handfuls of fresh spinach (for main meal)
* 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
* 2 teaspoons chopped parsley garnish

1. Boil pasta in a gallon of water salted with 1 tablespoon of sea salt. Cook one minute before recommended time on the box. The pasta will continue to cook in the sauce. We want it with a chew. Reserve a cup of cooking water and drain, but don't rinse, the pasta.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and the chopped hazelnuts. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss. Pour about 1/4 cup pasta water and cheese into the pan and toss to combine. Throw in the spinach, season with salt & pepper and toss. The spinach will wilt from just the residual heat of the pasta and the pan.
3. Garnish with the last tablespoon of cheese, the tablespoon of nuts and the parsley.

Review: The Nudge went for seconds (he NEVER does that) and packed up a lunch for today, he liked it that much. It was easy to make, took 15 minutes and dinner was served. I love recipes like this because it frees up time for me to concentrate on painting my plates.

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