Chili pasta drives me nuts

Chili and nuts– bombastic combo for pasta dishes and a functional one too, just choose your nut, spice it up with a chili and add your favorite veg and cheese to complete the dish; be careful not to exaggerate though, those chili can leave your mouth stinging for days!

Today I am making chili, thyme and walnut mascarpone rigatoni and chili, pine nut broccoli pecorino penne, both easy recipes from Alice Hart’s Vegetarian cook book, which I have to say, is becoming my daily food inspiration, I absolutely recommend it!

Both of the dishes are very simple, took me around 30 min to make and can also be served cold, as pasta salad entrees.

Pine nut, chili and broccoli penne

Serves four

Ingredients:

200 grams broccoli
350 grams penne
Couple of splashes of olive oil
1 or more chili (depends on your spice tolerance)
2 garlic cloves
75 g of toasted pine nuts
Grated pecorino
Pinch of salt
Method:

  1. Toast the pine nuts on medium heat for 5 min
  2. Blanch and refresh broccoli (to blanch bring water up to the boil, cook the broccoli for a minute or so and refresh in ice cold water)
  3. De-seed and finely slice chili (wash hands thoroughly afterwards to avoid burning feeling in hands)
  4. Bake cloves for 5 min at 180C, remove and slice.
  5. In a sauté pan add a drip of olive oil, the pine nuts, chili and broccoli
  6. In the mean time boil the pasta, drain add to the sauté pan with the chili, broccoli and pine nut
  7. Season with salt, grate pecorino by taste and serve

Walnut, chili and thyme rigatoni

Serves four

Ingredients:

300 grams walnut halves
350 grams rigatoni
1 or more chili
Splash of olive oil
2 garlic cloves
A bunch of picked thyme leaves
2 tablespoons mascarpone
Grated parmesan
Method:

  1. Bake walnuts for 5 min at 180C
  2. De-seed and finely slice chili
  3. Bake garlic cloves for 5 min at 180C (for practicality bake together with the walnuts), crush garlic with a spoon
  4. Pick out thyme leaves
  5. Prepare the rigatoni
  6. Add the crushed walnut, chili and thyme in a sauté pan together with the olive oil and mix for a couple of minutes at medium heat, add to the rigatoni
  7. Add the mascarpone to the rigatoni, check the taste, season with salt, grate the parmesan and serve
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