Tag Archives: walnuts

Pasta with garlic scapes & walnuts

15 Jul

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Growing 200-plus head of garlic every year (232 this season, thank you very much) I go through a lot of garlic scapes. I’m sure you’re seeing them at the farm stands and at your better grocery stores right about now.

It’s the season. And it doesn’t last long.

Most of the scapes that I don’t pass along to friends wind up being roasted as a side dish, but plenty find their way into a simple aglio e olio (literally, garlic and oil) sauce with my pasta. I like swapping the garlic cloves for the scapes because it adds a really nice texture to the aglio e olio. This version we have here also includes walnuts, which adds both texture and flavor.

It’s one of those super simple pasta dishes that you wind up craving over and over, so give it a try while the scapes are still around. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until next year.

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Get your pasta water going because this won’t take more than a few minutes. Then grab a few scapes (I’ve used four here, as I was only feeding myself on this occasion).

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Remove the tips (seen at rear) and chop the scapes and some hot pepper up, like so. You’ll also need a small handful of chopped walnuts.

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Saute in olive oil for a few minutes, or just until the scapes have softened (just don’t let them get crispy). Oh, and I’ve also added a few anchovy filets, even though I know most of you won’t. (C’mon, live a little, anchovies are awesome!)

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When your pasta is just shy of al dente turn up the heat under the scapes and add the pasta to the pan.

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Then add some of the (well-salted) pasta water and incorporate.

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After the water has all but evaporated (a minute or so) you are good to go.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, garlic scapes can last for weeks in the fridge, so don’t be shy about stocking up the next time you run across them.

I mean, can you ever have enough aglio e olio?

Flourless walnut chocolate cookies

20 Mar

Tonight there’s gonna be a pretty swell homecoming dinner at my house and all I got to cook was a batch of these lousy cookies.

Seriously. There’s several courses planned. Not even a pasta course am I asked to contribute!

Jeesch!

Anyhow, what I’m lacking in quantity I’ll make up for in class. These cookies are really delicious, and on the elegant side (just like my friend Scott, the one who’s returning home after several months away). I got the idea for them after seeing this dolci di noci recipe from Calabria, but decided to mess with the recipe and also add the chocolate and the orange.

I should mention that the kitchen has been in constant use all day (by the real cook in the house). To pull off this important “cookie course” of mine I had to get in and out of the kitchen quickly. In other words, they’re some of the easiest cookies you will ever lay eyes on.

There’s no flour in this recipe. This is 1 pound of walnuts and 1 cup of sugar that’s been ground in a food processor. It’s ground very finely but not to a powder.

Add 1/2 cup of cocoa powder and the zest of two large oranges.

Then add two large eggs and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Mix everything together with a spatula until it starts to clump up.

But I find it best to use my hands to finish up the mixing.


Here’s the finished mixture; it only takes a couple minutes to pull together.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and form balls with the dough (around 1 inch high by 1 1/2 inches wide). Place in an oven preheated to 375 degrees F for anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes.

This batch baked for just shy of 20 minutes. It amounted to 25 cookies.

Allow the cookies to cool, then top with confectioners sugar and have at it.

If they let me cook an actual appetizer or entree next time people come over I’ll be sure to let you know.

Dark side of the ravioli

29 Apr

I’m a big squid guy. If it’s on the menu, I’m ordering it, at least once just to see how the place handles it. Sometimes I even score some when it isn’t on the menu. Just the other day, whilst lunching at Saigon on Forest Ave., I managed to coax a couple of nicely grilled squid out of the kitchen. It was good. I was happy.

Lately, it also appears that squid ink has come running through my veins (see “The squid and the shrimp” post from 4/11). Possibly I ought be concerned over this. I am not.
As is often the case (sorry if I bore you here), I am forever in pasta-producing mode. Here’s what went down.

You got your walnuts, your grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a little nutmeg, pinch of salt, like that.
The Cuisinart does its thing.
Add in some fresh ricotta.
And you got your basic mushy mess of a filling.
Bop, bop, beep, boop.
And ravioli!
That is all.
Now go eat something.