Monday, May 20, 2013

Pounded Walnut Pizzichi

The other day, after we made our walnut and date cookies, we found another great recipe from the American Academy in Rome's chef Mona Talbott.   This one is for a simple and delicious pasta dish that uses farro pasta.  We were able to find the pasta, farro pizzichi, on Amazon.  And, practicing moderation, we bought a case.  And boy are we glad we did!  The pasta is delicious.  We don't think we have ever used fresh marjoram before.  It's quite nice.

According to the package, Farro has been known for 5000 years.  This antique type of durum wheat (Triticum Dicoccum) is full of vitamin, fiber, and mineral salts and was appreciated by the Romans because it is easy to digest.

We also made an arugula salad with kumquats and hazelnuts which is great.   Look for this recipe soon.

Pounded Walnut 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.
Serves 6.