Thursday, April 11, 2013

Are You Nuts?

I look at a ton of food every week.  I look in magazines, cookbooks and  websites.  I might be a little obsessed but I do love to eat and therefore am very entertained by picking out recipes.  I may go through the same magazine 10 times before I decide something looks good to me or worth giving a try.  Such is the case with the Angel Hair Pasta with Walnut-Carrot Sauce.  Maybe you agree that at a glance, the name isn't overly appealing.  Personally I've never been a big fan of the walnut.  But being aware of just how healthy Walnuts are, I decided to give them more of a chance lately.
This pasta dish was surprisingly delicious and honestly, I've been having a bit of a craving for it (I make it a couple of weeks ago).  This recipe is pretty simple and only takes 30 min to make, perfect for a busy weeknight.
Gather your tools and let's get to it.  I actually roasted up some shrimp to go with this and I'll show you that after the sauce.  First you cook some whole-grain angel hair pasta saving 1 1/2 cups of the pasta water when its done.
The recipe calls for 10 ounces of pasta but I probably used closer to 12 for the 4 of us.  12 ounces is plenty for 4 and there are almost always leftovers, enough for a little lunch the next day. 
While the pasta water is heating up, put a couple of carrots, walnuts, some garlic, oregano, lemon zest and some salt and pepper in the food processor.  Almost forgot, a pinch of red pepper flakes as well. 
Process until finely chopped.
Next you heat some olive oil in a large skillet and add the carrots.  At this point the recipe says to add golden raisins, I say no thank you.  You do what you like.  So is it just me or does this picture make my stove look like it isn't flat?  I keep thinking my skillet is going to slide onto the floor.  What's up with that?
While those carrots are cooking through,  juice a lemon.  Once the carrot mixture has cooked about 5 minutes, add the cooking water from the pasta, and bring to a simmer.  Then you add the pasta, lemon juice, some fresh parsley and pecorino cheese.  Salt to taste and serve.
I know it doesn't sound like much but man, this was tasty.  I find that I don't like the whole-grain pasta with everything but it really works well with this sauce.

Angel Hair Pasta with Walnut-Carrot Sauce (Food Network Magazine)

Kosher salt
12 oz whole-grain angel hair pasta
2 med carrots, rough chopped
1/3 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic, rough chopped
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp grated lemon zest
pinch of red pepper flakes
2 Tbs olive oil
1/2 cup golden raisins (I opted out)
1/2 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
juice of 1/2 lemon
3 Tbs chopped fresh parsley

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook as label directs.  Reserve 1 1/2 cup of pasta water, then drain.

Put the carrots, nuts, garlic, oregano, lemon zest, 1/2 tsp salt and red pepper flakes in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the carrot-walnut mixture and the raisins and cook, stirring until carrots soften and begin to brown, about 5 min.  Add reserved cooking water and bring to a simmer.  Next add the pasta, pecorino, lemon juice, parsley and salt to taste.  Toss and serve.

So about the shrimp,  I find this so easy and delicious anytime you need to add a little somethin' somethin' to a meal.
I put a tablespoon or so (just eyeball it) of olive oil, a squeeze of a lemon, a minced clove of garlic a dash of salt and a couple of turns of the pepper mill in a little bowl.  I also chop about a teaspoon or two of whatever fresh herb I have, usually oregano but parsley or thyme would be great too.
Pre-heat the oven to about 375 and toss the shrimp with the bowl of oily goodness and roast, turning once until they are opaque and pink.  If it has stopped snowing where you are you could also put the shrimp on a skewer and grill them instead.  Grilled shrimp is my fave.
There you have it.  A few simple ingredients, no specific measurements required.  Enjoy!

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