Coming from a Southern Italian family, we cook with A LOT of tomato, we have our Arrabiata, Melanzane, Arancini--all tomato based dishes. Now don’t get me wrong, my blood is comprised of 70% tomato, but when summer rolls around I can’t help but to gravitate to the light lemony pastas of the North. I was going to finish this analogy with a Game of Thrones reference, but we’ve all seen season 8 so let us all finally put that show to bed.
This recipe came to me while I was making dinner at home after a long day, and I didn’t have much in the fridge apart from some obvious staples, pasta, butter and lemon. I had a pot of fresh parsley by the window and hazelnuts in the pantry, et voila! I wanted to give you all something that screams summer dinners with no fuss. You can still cook and bake as long as your time in the kitchen is brief so you can enjoy the company of loved ones AND the Sun!
- 1/ 2 cup hazelnuts, peeled and roughly chopped
- 2 teaspoons black pepper, freshly cracked, plus more for garnish
- 1 stick unsalted butter, preferably european style
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 shallot, sliced into half moons
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 cup parsley, roughly chopped and divided
- 1 pound dried spaghetti
- 4 1/ 2 cups water
- 1/ 2 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
- 1 block Parmesan, (1 inch) rind plus freshly grated for serving
In a high-sided skillet, toast hazelnuts over medium-high heat until golden in color and fragrant, 3-5 minutes. Note: The saucepan should be wide enough for the pasta to lay flat and deep enough to hold the water.
Stir in black pepper and butter until butter is melted and pepper fragrant, 1 minute. (This will allow the black pepper to bloom and infuse into the butter.)
Add garlic, shallot, lemon zest and sauté until softened, 2 minutes, then stir in half of the parsley. Add pasta, water, salt and Parmesan rind, then bring to a boil. Reduce to a light simmer and cook, stirring occasionally until pasta is al dente and a creamy sauce has formed, 8-10 minutes. (Towards the end, stir more frequently so the pasta does not stick.)
Garnish with remaining parsley, freshly cracked pepper and a sprinkling of Parmesan, then serve.