Tag Archives: nuts

Pasta with Garlicky Spinach and Buttered Nuts

2 May

We invited our son for dinner recently when his financee was out of town. Planning a menu was a challenge. They are both vegan – no dairy, no egg – which I can handle fairly easily. But my son also follows a diet that helps him avoid GERD – gastro-esophageal reflux disease. And that means no onions (though leeks, shallots, and scallions are OK), no peppers of any kind, no tonatoes and nothing acidic, such as vinegar or any kind of citrus. Many spices, inclluding curry and anything deriving from pepper, are taboo. Luckily, garlic is OK (it’s technically on the to-be-avoided-for-GERD list, but he has found he can eat it without ill effect).

I found this recipe in the New York Times not long ago. It’s easy enough to substitute plant-based “butter” or margarine for the real thing (and in fact, our son brought us some he made himself). While our son can’t eat the capers in the recipe, he can eat green olives, so I chopped up a few tablespoons of those (no pimento!) as a substitute. And we decided to use cashews as the nut of choice because we had some roasted and salted on hand. We left out the pepper, and the vegan at the table avoided the Parmesan cheese.

We also served a split-pea soup we made using leeks instead of onions, and plain roasted carrots and broccoli, so it was a colorful, tasty and well-rounded meal.

The recipe says “serves 4” but it can easily stretch for six unless your diners have huge appetites. The three of us ate heartily and we had enough left over for two more servings.

Ingredients:

  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 12 oz. mezze rigatoni or other short pasta
  • ½ cup roasted salted pistachios, almonds or hazelnuts (or cashews), chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. capers, drained
  • 12 oz. fresh spinach, stems trimmed to 1-inch length, or Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped
  • Grated Parmesan for serving

Directions:

Bring a large pot of salted weater to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions until al dente.

After pasta has been cooking for about 2 minutes, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pistachios, garlic and capers and cook, stirring to keep the garlic from scorching, until fragrant, about one minute.

Add spinach to skillet one handful at a time, season with salt, and cook, tossing, until wilted, about 1 or 2 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, transfter the pasta to the skillet along with a half-cup of the pasta water. Season with salt and pepper and cook over medium-high, tossing until the liquid reduces and coats the pasta, 2 to 3 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper, and serve topped with Parmesan.

Serves 4

A Tuesday Threefer: Glazed nuts

10 Dec

Candied nutsThis is the year’s busiest entertaining season, so whether you’d planning a party or going to one as a guest, you might be able to use these recipes. They’re all terrific and  easy, especially the first two.

Candied or glazed nuts make a great party snack and they also make a great hostess gift if you’re a little tired of bringing wine. Just pack them in a pretty plastic bag or glass jar and add a little ribbon.

These are good recipes to make with kids or grandkids, as long as you’re careful not to let them touch the nuts when they first come out of the microwave or oven, because they are very hot.

Orange Candied Nuts

Ingredients:

¼ cup orange juice (pulp-free is best)
1 cup sugar
2 cups raw pecan halves (you can also use walnut halves, whole almonds, whole cashews, hazelnuts or a mixture)
A pinch of ginger and/or cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Stir the sugar into the orange juice. Place the nuts in a shallow glass baking dish and pour the sugar mixture over them. Stir so that all the nuts are evenly coated. Cover with plastic wrap, leaving one corner open to vent, and microwave at MEDIUM for 6 minutes. While the nuts are cooking, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. After six minutes, stir the nuts and microwave at MEDIUM for 4 to 6 minutes more. The liquid should be almost — but not quite — absorbed by the nuts.

Turn the nuts out on the parchment paper and spread them out so that they are in a single layer. If you see a small pool of syrup, move some nuts into it.

Cool for at least a half-hour, then break into small clumps.

Cinnamon Glazed Nuts

Ingredients:

candied nuts2 pounds nuts (pecans, cashews, almonds or a mixture)
1 large egg white
⅔ cup sugar
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well to coat the nuts. Spread the nuts over the baking sheet in a single layer and bake for 15-25 minutes, turning once with a spatula. Nuts should be bubbly and lightly browned.

Remove from oven and cool completely. Break up the nuts and store in an airtight container.

Sweet and Spicy Glazed Nuts

Ingredients:

2 pounds roasted nuts (pecans, cashews, almonds, pistachios, peanuts or a mixture)
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup water
1 Tbs. hot red sauce, such as Tabasco
1 tsp. salt (omit if the nuts are already salted)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2 large baking sheets with nonstick spray, or line with parchment paper.

Combine all ingredients except nuts in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat.

Place nuts in a large bowl and pour the glaze over. Toss well to coat. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the nuts to the prepared baking sheets (discard any remaining glaze – or use with more nuts).

Bake the nuts, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes until the nuts are golden. Cool completely and then break up the clumps.