Syrup-Soaked Pastries with Hazelnuts, Pistachios, and Pine Nuts (Deblah). Matt Taylor-Gross
If any ingredient proves that small can be mighty, it’s the pine nut. The edible seeds of some pine tree species, largely harvested in places with a Mediterranean climate, pine nuts pack a ton of flavor into a tiny, richly textured seed, and have health benefits, too. They can also be a flavor chameleon, a main ingredient in desserts like tarts, cookies, and brittles as well as savory dishes, too. One of the best ways to use pine nuts is in the starter course, by mixing them into dips for crudité, frying into finger foods, or pairing with beef in empanada fillings. While, of course, you know them as an essential ingredient in authentic pesto, we also love them as a topping for vegetable side dishes, salads, and grains.
Toasting pine nuts before using them brings out a more robust flavor, and browns and fortifies the nut to add a crispier, crunchier texture.
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Pineapple and Pine Nut Torte
At Portland, Oregon’s Måurice restaurant, pastry chef Kristen Murray layers sponge cake with buttercream and white chocolate ganache, and garnishes the torte with honeyed pineapple slices and candied pine nuts.
Linguine with Sardines, Raisins, and Pine Nuts (Pasta con le Sarde)
In this representative Sicilian dish, which seamlessly combines Arab and Sicilian flavors, pasta is tossed with sardines from the Mediterranean, raisins and pine nuts grown in the mountains, and a dash of saffron, which imbues the pasta with a golden color. Look for small sardines, which are sweeter and more delicate than larger ones. Get the recipe for Linguine with Sardines, Raisins, and Pine Nuts (Pasta con le Sarde) »
“Silk Handkerchiefs” with Pesto (Mandilli de Saea al Pesto Genovese)
The pasta squares called mandilli de saea, Genoese for “silk handkerchiefs” (for their size and thinness), are large, paper-thin egg-dough sheets that drape beautifully in the bowl, almost always dressed with pesto. The result is a kind of purity of pasta–certainly less complex than some other Genoese dishes, but with an elegance and grace not ordinarily associated with a plate of noodles. Like other Genoese set pieces, it seems wonderfully anachronistic–deliciously edible link with a fabled past. Get the recipe for Silk Handkerchiefs with Pesto »
Savory and sweet, this rustic Mediterranean nut-and-raisin sauce is a staple on the Italian island of Ischia, off the coast of Naples, where it is traditionally tossed with pasta during Lent. Get the recipe for Foriana Sauce »