Food The Bite:

Gemelli with Zesty Lemon, Castelvetrano Olives, and Parsley

Gemelli with Zesty Lemon, Castelvetrano Olives, and Parsley

We love big flavors in our family—add some heat, herbs, and mouth-puckering acid to just about anything and you have a meal fit for the Calderones! Case in point: Since the age of four, Jivan has been able make a mean pesto and it’s still his favorite sauce for pasta. Yet, I wrestled with whether to include pasta with pesto in this book. If it’s simple enough for a preschooler, do we really need a recipe? This dish is my solution. It tips its hat to classic pesto with its herb-based, no-cook sauce, but it’s a little less expected, thanks to parsley, olives, hazelnuts, and habaneros.

Gemelli with Zesty Lemon, Castelvetrano Olives, and Parsley
Gemelli with Zesty Lemon, Castelvetrano Olives, and Parsley

Gemelli with Zesty Lemon, Castelvetrano Olives, and Parsley

Athena Calderone, Cook Beautiful

Ingredients

SERVES 4

1⁄2 cup hazelnuts

Salt and freshly cracked pepper

1 large bunch parsley, minced (about 11⁄4 cups)

2 cups (about 10 ounces) roughly chopped Castelvetrano olives

2 large lemons, grated zest and juice

1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil plus 2 tablespoons, plus more for drizzling

Kosher salt

1 pound gemelli pasta

3 large cloves garlic

1 to 2 anchovy fillets, depending on your taste

1 cup grated ricotta salata, plus shaved ricotta salata for serving

1⁄4 teaspoon minced habanero chile, for serving

Aleppo pepper, for serving

Method

Preheat the oven to 400oF. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast until lightly golden and fragrant, about 10 minutes.

Place the toasted nuts on a clean dish towel and rub them against one another until they lose most of their skins. Roughly chop the hazelnuts, place them in a bowl, and toss with a generous drizzle of oil. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a medium bowl, mix together the parsley, olives, lemon juice, zest, and 1⁄2 cup oil. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil over medium heat. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain, reserving 1⁄2 cup of the pasta water.

Mince the garlic and anchovy together until they form almost a paste on your cutting board. In a large skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons oil over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add the garlic-anchovy paste. Cook, stirring constantly, until the garlic is soft and fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce the heat to low.

Pour the drained pasta into the skillet. Add the grated cheese and reserved pasta water and toss until the cheese is evenly distributed. Stir in the parsley and olive mixture and toss until the pasta is evenly coated.

Taste and adjust for seasoning and serve topped with toasted hazelnuts, habaneros, shaved cheese, and a sprinkle of Aleppo pepper.

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