Friday, December 30, 2011

Orecchiette with Pistachio & Picholine Olive Sauce

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(4 servings)

There's still a ton of pistachios in my house from the holidays and some of them found their way into this dish. It's one of my favourites and if I were given the choice between this and a slice of chocolate cake, I'd go for the pasta almost every time.

I used brine-cured picholine olives which have a wonderful saltiness to them. Their firm texture also makes them great cocktail olives. Orecchiette is perfect for this dish. The roughly textured, indented discs hold the olive sauce extremely well.

If you have a food processor, this will come together very quickly for a delicious lunch or dinner.

2 1/2 - 3 cups dry orecchiette, about 12 oz
1 1/3 cups pitted picholine or brine-cured green olives
3/4 cup shelled pistachio kernels
small handful fresh chopped parsley
1 small clove garlic, chopped
1 or 2 pinches red pepper flakes, to taste
1 tsp freshly minced lemon zest
1/3 cup grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 - 1/2  cup hot water reserved from cooking the pasta

freshly ground pepper 

Cook the orecchiette according to the directions on the package in lightly salted water until they are al dente; about 9 - 12 minutes.

While the pasta is cooking, place the olives, pistachios, parsley, garlic, red pepper, lemon zest and cheese into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is roughly chopped.

Scrape down the sides, then with the motor running pour up to 1/2 cup of  hot water from the pasta, through the chute until the mixture resembles a sauce.

Toss the olive sauce with the drained orecchiette.

Serve. Dust with freshly ground pepper, if desired.


smbp said...

What a simple but delicous sounding recipe - I am in luck I have all of the ingredients on hand to make this dish this coming weekend!

T and Tea Cake said...

Mmmmh...after all that heavy eating over Christmas, I could fancy something warm and filling (hey, it's still winter and rainy), yet light and fresh in taste.

It would also be great with gnocchi, I can imagine.


Gerlinde in Washington said...

Thanks everyone! I've made this two straight days for dinner!

leaf (the indolent cook) said...

Orecchiette is so cute and I don't have it as often as I should. This looks beautiful!

Sue/the view from great island said...

I now know what's for dinner at my house! This pesto is right up my ally, love it! Happy New Year Gerlinde!

Heidi @ Food Doodles said...

Mmm, looks delicious! I love the pistachios, I bet that flavor is amazing :D

Terrianne said...

These ingredients were very expensive and we hated us. Normally we would force ourselves to eat something we didn't like, but could tolerate rather than waste food and money, however we could not bring ourselves to do it with this dish. I'm sure it's just a matter of taste. If you love it, I'm sure others will. This one just didn't work for my family. :/

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