This is the kind of dish I have been wanting to cook ever since I started growing stuff in my garden at the beginning of the year. Peas and Broad Beans have been making their presence known for a little while now but the first of my Courgettes were ready to make an appearance. So it’s something of a watershed as apart from the pasta and essentials such as Olive Oil and Butter, most of this dish is from the garden, picked only minutes before. And wow, for something that had no meat in it whatsoever, it was utterly butterly delicious.
And yes, I’m aware of the irony of cooking a dish with the word ‘Spring’ in its title in Summer but these ingredients were all growing in August so could it be called, ‘Pasta Estate’?
Hazelnuts (or other nut or even mixed)
Juice and zest of 1/2 Lemon
1 Clove of Garlic, finely chopped
Salt and Pepper
Handful of fresh soft herbs such as Basil, Parsley and Mint, chopped coarsely or whole if you like.
Parmesan cheese to serve (or other hard Italian cheese such as Gran Padano)
Salad cress (optional)
Put the pasta in some boiling water with a big sprinkle of salt.
In a large pan over a medium heat, throw in a big knob of butter and a generous drizzle of olive oil.
Add the chopped garlic to the pan and allow to soften slightly.
Meanwhile, in a small pan over a high heat, dry roast the hazelnuts or whatever nut you’ve got. Keep moving it around so the nuts don’t burn but take on a nice toasty-brown colour. Chop coarsely and put to one side.
In the large pan with the garlic, add the peas, beans and courgettes. Stir everything to give it all a nice coating of the garlic, buttery juices.
Add the juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon and a generous hit of salt and pepper.
Take the pan off the heat until the pasta is cooked. The lemon juice will have cooled it sufficiently so the vegetables aren’t overcooked.
Once the pasta is cooked ‘al dente’, drain, reserving some of the liquid and add both to the pan with the vegetables, half the hazelnuts and all the herbs. Give it all a good old toss around, making sure it’s all nicely mixed up.
Spoon into a dish as pretty as you can. Sprinkle the remaining nuts over the top along with the cress as a garnish.
Shave slices of parmesan cheese over the top and then finally, a flourish of olive oil.
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