Simple Capellini Pasta with Toasted Pine Nuts and Garlic

This may just be the simplest pasta you'll ever make. It has only 5 main ingredients (I don't count seasonings or condiments in my 5 Ingredient Meals), and the best part is that the ingredients are non-perishable, so you can keep them on hand for a quick meal anytime. I love making this pasta when I feel like giving myself a little treat. Pine nuts are very pricey, but because they're so flavorful, you don't need to use more than a small handful - and I like to roughly chop them once they're toasted, which spreads out the flavor even more. Also, you can substitute other nuts, such as macadamia nuts or walnuts (I haven't tried either yet). 

I usually make just 1-2 servings of this pasta as a quick mid-week treat. If you'd like to make more, you can simply double or triple the ingredients - you don't have to be too precise. When the flavors come together, you get a buttery base with warm earthiness from the toasted nuts and a kick from the garlic, and the parmesan floats in between for a salty, tangy finish. 

You'll need:

1/3 packet of Capellini or Angel Hair pasta
A small handful of pine nuts (about 1/8 cup)
1 small garlic clove, peeled and very finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup freshly grated parmigiano (or pecorino-romano, if you're on a tighter budget)
Crushed black pepper to taste
Optional: fresh, finely-diced rosemary

1. Cook the pasta until al dente, about 5-7 minutes after you toss it into boiling water. When the pasta is done and before you drain it, scoop out a coffee cup of the pasta water and set it aside. 

2. In a non-stick pan over low heat, toast the pine nuts until golden-brown, about 5 minutes. Keep an eye on them - they burn quickly once they really start toasting, so you'll have to stir them around the pan frequently for the last minute or two.

3. Once the pine nuts are toasted, set them aside on your cutting board and reuse the non-stick pan to quickly saute the garlic for just a minute or two, until it starts to turn a little darker yellow. There is no need to use oil or butter, unless your pan sticks. While the garlic cooks, give the pine nuts a quick, rough chop. Optional: if you choose to use rosemary for an added kick, saute it along with the garlic.

4. Combine the Capellini and 1 tablespoon of butter, mix well. Next, add the garlic, pine nuts and pepper, pour 3 tablespoons of the pasta water on top and mix again. When all of the ingredients are well-incorporated into the pasta, sprinkle on the parmigiano and mix one last time, adding one or two more tablespoons of pasta water, as needed, to make the pasta a bit creamier.

And voilà!

Yours truly, one bite at a time,


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