Pasta with Baby Artichokes, Mascarpone, and Hazelnuts
Yields: 4 Servings
- 12 ounces fresh lasagna sheets (about 8x6 inches)
- All-purpose flour (for surface)
- 1 lemon, halved
- 1 pound baby artichokes (about 8)
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 bay leaves
- ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Kosher salt
- ¾ cup blanched hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped marjoram or oregano
- 1½ teaspoons Aleppo-style pepper
- 1 cup mascarpone
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 350º. Place a pasta sheet on a lightly floured work surface. Using a paring knife or a pastry wheel, cut the sheet into quarters (each piece should be about 4x3"), then cut each piece on a diagonal from corner to corner to create 4 triangles. Transfer triangles to a flour-dusted baking sheet and cover with a kitchen towel. Repeat process with remaining lasagna sheets.
Squeeze juice from lemon halves into a large bowl of cold water. Working with 1 artichoke at a time, pull off all the tough dark outer leaves until mostly yellow leaves remain. Using a serrated knife, cut 1" off top of artichoke. Trim stem, leaving at least ½" intact. Using a paring knife or a vegetable peeler, remove dark green outer layer from stem. Cut artichoke in half lengthwise and then into 1/3"-thick wedges. Drop artichoke pieces in lemon water. The acid in the water will keep them from turning brown while you trim the remaining artichokes.
Once all the artichokes have been trimmed, drain and place in a wide medium saucepan. Add garlic, bay leaves, and ¼ cup oil. Pour in cold water to submerge artichokes; season generously with salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until a paring knife slides through artichokes with little to no resistance, 8-10 minutes. Let cool, then drain and set artichokes aside.
While the artichokes are simmering away, toast hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once, until golden brown, 10-12 minutes. Let cool, then coarsely chop. Toss in a medium bowl with marjoram, Aleppo-style pepper, and 3 Tbsp. oil; season with a generous pinch of salt. Set aside.
Mix mascarpone, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a separate medium bowl; season with salt. Set aside.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until very al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking liquid.
Return pasta and ¼ cup pasta cooking liquid to pot and set over low heat. Add reserved mascarpone mixture and gently toss, adding more pasta cooking liquid as needed if sauce is too thick, until pasta is al dente and sauce coats pasta. Add reserved artichokes and half of reserved hazelnut mixture and gently stir to distribute (you want to avoid breaking up artichokes very much).
Divide pasta among bowls. Top with remaining hazelnut mixture.
Do Ahead: Hazelnuts can be toasted 3 days ahead; store airtight at room temperature. Artichokes can be trimmed and cooked 1 day ahead; let cool in cooking liquid. Cover and chill. Drain just before adding to pasta.
Roast Chicken with Saffron, Hazelnuts & Honey
Yields: 4 Servings
- 4 chicken breasts skinless & boneless (or your favorite chicken pieces or 1-large organic or free-range chicken, divided into quarters)
- 2 onions coarsely chopped
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1- teaspoon ground ginger do not substitute fresh ginger
- 1- teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A generous pinch of saffron threads
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 tablespoons cold water
- 2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1- cup unskinned hazelnuts toasted and skinned
- 3 ½ tablespoons honey
- 1- tablespoon rose water optional
Place chicken pieces, onions, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, saffron, lemon juice, water, salt and pepper in a large Ziploc bag. Refrigerate at least one hour or overnight.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 375ºF/190ºC.
Spread hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and fragrant. Once cooled to touch, rub the nuts together between your hands to remove skins. (The nuts can be used with skins on, if desired.) Chop coarsely and set aside.
Transfer chicken along with the marinade to a baking sheet large enough not to crowd the chicken. If skin is still on the chicken, place it skin side up.
Roast chicken for 35 minutes.
While chicken is roasting, combine honey, rose water (if using) and nuts.
Remove chicken from oven and spread ¼ cup of nut mixture onto each breast.
Return chicken to the oven for 5-10 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through and nuts are golden brown. (If needed, turn oven to 425ºF and cook long enough just to get more color on the nuts and chicken. Watch this step very closely so the hazelnuts don't burn and chicken doesn't overcook.)
Transfer chicken to a serving dish and spoon remaining juices, nuts and onions over each breast.
Yields: about 3 cups
- About 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- 1 pound of Roma tomatoes (4 medium-sized)
- 1 red sweet bell pepper
- 2 (1-inch thick) slices of an Italian-style bread (measuring approximately 6 x 3-inches in diameter), such as ciabatta or Pugliese
- 1 cup roasted and skinned hazelnuts
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
- 1 to 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
- 2½ teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup red wine or sherry vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Hot water, if needed
This classic Spanish sauce is a melange of roasted tomatoes and peppers, olive oil, roasted hazelnuts and fried bread. It compliments many foods, including grilled shellfish and halibut, lamb, pasta, and even a simple offering of toasted bread (as a dipping sauce). It keeps for at least two weeks in the refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Pool one tablespoon of olive oil on a baking sheet and place it in the oven while it is preheating. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise; cut out the core from each half. When the oven is hot, remove the baking sheet from the oven and place the tomato halves in the oil, cut-side up. Coat the surface of each tomato half with a bit more oil, which will help with browning. Roast for about 15 minutes, then turn the tomatoes over, cut-side down and continue roasting until the tomato skins begin to darken, crack, and pull away from the flesh. Remove from the oven and set aside until they're cool enough to handle.
Pierce the pepper in several places with a sharp knife to avoid bursting, then place it on the baking sheet. Place the pepper under a broiler and broil, turning several times, until it has blackened over most of its surface. Alternatively, you could blacken the pepper over a gas flame on your stove top, or in a grill.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy-bottomed skillet (you can use a non-stick skillet, but it won't impart quite as much toasty flavor to the bread). Fry the bread until golden brown and crisp on both sides. Remove from skillet and let cool.
Pluck the skins from the cooled tomatoes, reserving the juices. Place the flesh and juice in the food processor. Peel, core and seed the pepper, reserving the juice. Place the flesh and juice in the food processor. Add the bread, roasted hazelnuts, garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, ground chipotle chile pepper, salt, and black pepper. Process until smooth (it will have a somewhat grainy appearance because of the nuts). With the machine running, add the vinegar.
Let the motor run for a moment, then stop it and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Turn the motor back on and add the ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil in a slow, steady, very thin stream. The sauce will thicken slightly and hold together with a rich, rust orange/red color. If the sauce seems too thick (it should have a soft, pesto-like consistency), then with the machine running, drizzle in some hot water. Taste and make sure the sauce has plenty of piquancy and enough salt.
If desired, with the machine running, add additional vinegar and salt. Romesco sauce can be prepared and refrigerated for at least a week.
Bring to room temperature before using.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 2 cloves, minced
- ½ thinly sliced red pepper
- ½ thinly sliced yellow pepper
- ½ thinly sliced green pepper
- 2 large ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced in ½ inch pieces (2 cups)
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese (Chevre)
- Cooked Penne pasta
- ½ cup coarsely chopped toasted hazelnuts
- ½ cup cooked artichoke hearts, quartered
- ½ cup Kalamata or Sicilian olives
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat one tablespoon olive oil. Over medium heat, sauté garlic until softened, about two minutes. Add peppers and sauté for another two minutes. Add tomatoes and stir just until they release their juices, about two minutes. Stir in goat cheese to make a creamy sauce. Toss with cooked pasta, hazelnuts, artichokes, olives, and basil. Drizzle with lemon juice and remaining olive oil. Season with freshly ground black pepper to taste.
To peel tomatoes, spear the stem end with a fork. Holding the fork, immerse tomato in boiling water for about one minute. Cool by holding the tomato in a stream of cold water. The peel should slip off easily.
To seed tomatoes, cut in half horizontally. Place one half in the palm of your hand like you were holding a baseball for an overhand throw. Firmly squeeze at the same time, making a downward throwing motion over the sink or waste basket. Most of the seeds will come out. Just don't let loose!
Mushrooms with Pasta and Hazelnut Oil
Yield: 2 Servings
- 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
- 1 pound mushrooms, ends trimmed and sliced into ¼ inch thick slices
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 ounces dry linguine fini
- 2 to 3 tablespoons hazelnut oil
- ½ cup chopped parsley
- ½ cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook the linguine; while it is cooking, make the mushroom topping.
Heat butter in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms and saute for a moment, Add a cover and a tad of water and simmer for 5 minutes or until tender. Remove the cover and evaporate the liquid. Add the garlic and saute just until aromatic. Remove mushrooms from the heat and season well to taste with salt and pepper.
When the pasta is done, return it to the cooking pot and toss with mushrooms, hazelnut oil and parsley; keep on tossing until well combined and transfer to 2 heated pasta bowls. Garnish with hazelnuts and dinner is done. Accompany with steamed vegetable salad.