Roasted pine nuts add a special flavour to this pasta dish

Pine nuts are small oblong seeds from the pine tree. The two main varieties are pignolia which is Mediterranean and torpedo-shaped and the Chinese nuts which are squat and triangle-shaped. The pine cones that contain the nuts must be collected from the tree or forest floor. The cones are then heated, which opens up their scales and loosens the nuts. The nuts are often lightly roasted to improve their flavour. Pignolia nuts may be eaten raw or roasted. They are frequently added to meat, fish, salads and vegetable dishes or baked in bread. Chinese pine nuts are used extensively as they are easily available and not very expensive. These nuts are pungent and have a distinct flavour.

The high caloric content of pines comes from their fats. However, the nuts are especially rich in mono-unsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid that helps lower LDL or “bad cholesterol” and increase HDL or “good cholesterol” in the blood.  Research studies suggest that the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, helps prevent coronary artery disease and strokes by favouring a healthy blood lipid profile. The vitamin D in pine nuts strengthens bones and teeth, by improving the body's ability to absorb calcium, and vitamins A and C may sharpen vision and boost the immune system.

Pine nuts are an excellent source of B-complex group of vitamins such as thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B-6 and folates. Besides, they contain essential minerals such as manganese, potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, zinc and selenium.

Linguine with Pine Nut Picada and Anchovy Cream

Ingredients

Butter: 25 gm

Anchovy fillets: 10 nos.

Garlic: 1 clove

Crème fraiche: 150 ml

Linguine: 300 gm

For the Pine Nut picada

Bread crumbs: 50 gm

Toasted pine nuts: 50 gm

Mint leaves: 15 nos.

Garlic: 1 clove

Lemon zest: 1 lemon

Lemon juice: 5 ml

Olive oil: 4 tsp

Spanish chilli flakes: 2 gm

Method: Toast the breadcrumbs to dry in a frying pan. Use a pestle to grind the pine nut, mint, garlic and lemon zest together with a dash of extra virgin olive oil to make crumbs. Add the chilli into the picada; then stir in the breadcrumbs and add the extra virgin olive oil to bind. Add a little lemon juice to sharpen the flavour and set picada aside until ready to serve.

Heat butter in a small pan, add garlic and the drained anchovies. Saute for a while. Season the mixture with lots of freshly ground black pepper and a pinch of salt, then stir in the crème fraîche. Simmer gently for a few minutes to reduce to a creamy sauce. Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil, cook the linguine until al dente, and then drain. Return to the hot pan and stir the anchovy sauce through the pasta. Add a generous sprinkling of picada.

Sous Chef

Taj Club House

Keywords: Pine Nut Picada