Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti Recipe

Inspired by Mona Talbott's recipe in the new Coco cookbook, a pounded walnut pesto with marjoram and parsley, tossed with farro pasta and Pecorino cheese.

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti

While shopping for holiday gifts this year, I fell into a trap. The "one for you, one for me" trap. Some of you might know it? Not behavior I'm particularly proud of, but it is what it is. For example, I bought Ad Hoc at Home as a gift, then bought the Coco book for myself. Casa Moro = gift, River Cottage Bread Handbook = me. Phaidon's huge Coco book surprised me. I thought it would be too restaurant-centric for my tastes, filled with recipes that wouldn't translate to my day to day cooking. But there I was, flipping through it, excited about many of the chefs who were highlighted within the 400+ pages - Mona Talbott, Skye Gyngell, and Amaryll Schwertner to name a few. And I've actually been cooking from it.

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti Recipe

For those of you who haven't seen Coco, the premise is simple - ten culinary masters highlight one hundred contemporary chefs. The culinary masters are Gordon Ramsay, Ferran Adria, Alain Ducasse, Alice Waters, Rene Redzepi, Jacky Yu, Yoshihiro Murata, Fergus Henderson, Shannon Bennett, and Mario Batali. They, in turn, have selected one hundred of the best contemporary chefs working today. So, as you can imagine, there is a fascinating range of individuals highlighted here. There are chefs cooking not far from where I live, and others as far-fetched as Copenhagen, New York, Paris, Oslo, Hong Kong, Kyoto, Siena, and Singapore. You get a peek in each of their kitchens, and a selection of their recipes. It's fun to see all the different platings, and cooking styles ranging from simple and traditional to experimental.

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti Recipe

Mona Talbott is the chef (and director) of the Rome Sustainable Food Project at the American Academy in Rome, and the pasta I'm highlighting today is hers. You make a pounded walnut pesto with marjoram and parsley, and toss it with farro pasta and Pecorino cheese. It's rustic, simple to make, and perfect this time of year. Each time I would flip to this recipe, I'd also notice her dried fava bean and chicory soup, and the chestnut flour cake with raisins and pine nuts. Both on the list of recipes to try from this book.

Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti Recipe

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that I've been delighted with this not-so-little holiday present to myself. I so appreciate each of these chefs giving us a glimpse into their kitchens, and even if my cooking style isn't in line with many of them, I found something inspiring in each profile.

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Pounded Walnut Strozzapreti

Use a short pasta here, I happened to have a farro strozzapreti, which was great, the sauce got caught up in its little curls. In the book Mona uses a ruffled edge farro pizzichi.

3/4 cup / 3.5 oz / 100g walnuts
1 clove garlic, peeled, germ removed if garlic sprouted
1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

2/3 cup / 5oz / 150ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons marjoram, chopped
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
1/2 cup / 1 oz / 30 g pecorino Romano, grated
salt & pepper
1 pound / 16 oz / 460g short farro pasta

Start by heating a large pot of water, it will take a while for it to come to a boil.

In the meantime, toast the walnuts in a 350F / 175C degree oven until they are golden, 8-10 minutes. While still warm, wrap them in a clean dish towel and rub off the skins.

Place the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle, and pound to a fine paste. Add the walnuts to the mortar and pestle and pound into a paste. Alternately, you can do this in a food processor.

Transfer the nut mixture to a bowl. Stir in the olive oil, then add most of the herbs. Stir in the pecorino, taste, and adjust the seasoning.

Salt the pasta water generously, and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and reserve a big cup of the pasta water. Toss the walnut pesto with the pasta, and thin out the sauce with the reserved water. Serve topped with a sprinkling of the remaining herbs.

Serves 6.

This recipe was adapted from Coco: 10 World-Leading Masters Choose 100 Contemporary Chefs by Editors of Phaidon Press. Published by Phaidon Press (November 16, 2009).

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 20 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

I am all over this! Do you think it might work with pecans? HS: I think it might be quite different. If you give it a go, report back!

I just love non-tomato alternatives for pasta, and this certainly is something entirely different for me in my kitchen. I bought pounds of organic walnuts some time ago and have them stored in my refrigerator and need to use them. I don't have fancy pasta shapes, but a good sauce doesn't need fancy shapes: it only needs good tasting pasta. Thanks for this interesting sauce!

Wonderfully rustic! I love the walnut pesto :-)

I just picked up some strozzapreti from World Market this morning. Thanks for another great-sounding recipe!

While the recipe looks great, I think my favorite part is the 'one for you, one for me' line. Guilty as charged! But then that's what makes it so much fun:) I'm also excited to learn about the Rome Sustainable Food Project. Thank you again for keeping our holidays unique and delicious!

I have some buckwheat pasta (from france) anyone have ideas about what to do with it?

fay b.

I'm definitely guilty of a similar shopping pattern, and now I want to go looking for Coco. The pesto looks fantastic.

oooh, Heidi. I've never tried farro pasta before and, actually, never knew it even existed! Going to have to do a little search (Rainbow, maybe?). Thanks for the lovely recipe! HS: Now that you know to look for it, you'll see it around Megan! Rainbow, A.G. Ferrari, Whole Foods, etc.

I thought for a moment you'd made that beautiful pasta...amidst shopping and holiday preparations! What a project that would be right now. I've never seen or heard of farro pasta but I'm sure a quick google search will help me out...

This looks delicious and your pictures are beyond making me drool! I haven't actually heard of this book before. But maybe I will take a look when I do my holiday shopping, *someone* might enjoy it?

How interesting you speak of cookbooks for xmas since I have asked for yours! Hope I get it!

Bonus points for this dish! I would serve this one up to the family in a heartbeat! I love the authenticity of using a motar for this recipe!

This looks incredible! So unique.

I love, love, love walnut pesto! I know it is not the most popular use for it, but once I added walnut pesto on top of spaetzle, and honestly... I thought I had died and gone to heaven I will try this recipe, it's a little different from the one I have

I love, love, love walnut pesto! I know it is not the most popular use for it, but once I added walnut pesto on top of spaetzle, and honestly... I thought I had died and gone to heaven I will try this recipe, it's a little different from the one I have

I have never found a pesto I didn't like. I can'tw ait to try this- thanks!

The walnut pesto is one of my favourites, it's a great complement to rustic wholemeal pasta like this farro strozzapreti (=strangle-priests, in Italian, as you may know). The recipes you're going to try just seem variations of two typical Italian dishes, fave e cicoria (pureed fava beans with chicory leaves), a classic from Apulia and Basilicata, and the Tuscan castagnaccio (chestnut flour cake with raisins and pinenuts... and rosemary leaves! - no sugar at all). Hope to read about them in your blog.

i love walnut pesto with just about...anything!

I was just eating at this fabulous restaurant in Vermont called The Alchemist and raving about their walnut, cranberry, goat cheese house salad. The walnuts really made the salad. Can't wait to try out this walnut pasta!

Looks fantastic — and a perfect dish to make when you only have half an hour to get dinner together. @arugulove — I'd guess the pasta comes from Rainbow. I've purchased farro pasta there before (although not in this particular shape).

Anne

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