May 19, 2008


In continuation with my Italian-cooking mood lately, I also did a main course including pasta- of course- spinach (it’s spinach season!) and parmesan. There was also some prosciutto di Parma involved, rolled around grissini sticks. When I was pulling out the ingredients, I even realized that I could make an edible Italian flag triptych!

However the base of my dish may seem unrelated but in reality is completely related and highly recommended- the base was hazelnuts. The story behind this is that I love how nutty flavours compliment spinach’s earthy flavours. I’ve always enjoyed a salad composed of raw spinach leaves and walnuts for instance. So from hazelnuts came the idea of throwing in some spinach, and then some pasta, and then one of my favourite home made sauces made from cream and parmesan (so easy to make, but it can send you off to paradise!) … and then finally to use all the colours of the Italian flag I included some Parma ham on the side. This is an easy dish to make- but I’d classify it as one of those simple dishes with an edge.

Before I post the recipe I’d like to thank Peter (who is currently creating a storm with his “Breads of the World” series! :-) ) from Souvlaki for the Soul for the Arte y Pico award. So with no further ado, here are the five blogs I’m passing this award to for their creativity, design, interesting material, and contribution to the blogger community. I really don’t like having to chose just 5 blogs, but I guess I can’t defy the rules… Those who receive the award should pass it on to another 5 blogs and include a link to the Arte y Pico site.

> Sugarhead : Quite honestly, I only discovered this blog recently and the first thought that came to my mind was “why on earth have I not found this jewel before?!?!” I don’t know all that much about the author behind the blog, but he seems to be a chef and currently in Dubai but what I know for sure is that he deserves blog awards that go beyond Arte y Pico, but in the meantime this is the best I can do to express my admiration for the most interesting posts and photos!

> Tamarind & Thyme for introducing a blog that is built on the idea of “cooking and eating well in London without going broke”. I love reading Su-Lin’s stories, they are always down-to-earth and so real, and when she is travelling I love to find out about her culinary discoveries!

> Boots in the Oven I have been a long-time reader of “Mr & Mrs. Pants” (or alternatively “Husbear & Girlie”) and the entertaining writing about food and all their worldwide travelling. One day they’ll be in country A and the other in country B, but regardless of that, their blog remains a constant pleasure to read!

> Technicolor Kitchen for Patricia’s unequalled optimism and positive energy (it just oozes out of her blog) and for reading from someone blogging all the way in sunny Brazil! She literally always posts about recipes that are delicious- always!

> The Sugar Bar for Kid Diva’s curiosity and because it is a really nice thing to know that enjoying the virtues of cooking can start at a really young age (Kid Diva started blogging at age 17). When I was 17 I did not know many people who were into food like me!

Recipe for Hazelnut & Spinach Pasta:


  • Pasta, whatever shape you like
  • Spinach leaves, raw & clean
  • Liquid cream
  • Parmesan
  • Hazelnuts- powder/ground
  • Hazelnut oil
  • Prosciutto di Parma
  • Grissini sticks
  • Salt & Pepper

Making it:
First off start by cooking the pasta. Cook it 1 minute less then indicated. In the meantime, in a small pot heat some liquid cream and add some parmesan on top and salt & pepper. The parmesan needs to melt and the sauce should not be “chunky” so place it in a mixer if necessary. In the meantime as well, place some clean spinach leaves in a bowl and drizzle with hazelnut oil, ground hazelnuts and some salt. When your pasta is ready, remove from boiling water, rinse with water and then place again in a deep pan with the parmesan cream for 1 minute (this explains why you cook the pasta 1 minute less initially). Remove from heat, and then throw in the spinach mix and swirl gently and very very briefly. Place on serving dish (must be eaten warm not cold!!!) and serve with prosciutto di Parma rolled around grissini sticks (do these at the last minute or else the grissini sticks become soggy).

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Peter M said...

Oh goodness, you make a simple pasta dish look so elegant. This would flatter any suprise guest that drops by unannounced.

You're blog is more enjoyble each time I get a new notice of your posts in my reader.

Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, sweetie, you are far too kind! Thank you for the award and the lovely words, they mean the world to me!
Marianna, this pasta dish looks so good! I ate so much of that ham when I was in Europe, that stuff is addictive! :)

Peter G said...

I'm absolutely loving the ingredients in this dish Marianna. And like Patricia said that ham is so addictive!

diva@theSugarBar said...

italy's flag is complete with those lovely ingredients. and that looks like really good parma ham. mmmm. i haven't had really great pasta in a long while. makes me feel a tad melancholic.

p/s thanks for the award. deeply honoured!! :) & congrats on receiving it too, you deserve it.

Kevin said...

That pasta dish sounds tasty! I like the shape of that pasta.

michelle @ TNS said...

this is like my perfect supper. if pressed, the only change i would made would be to include MORE proscuitto.

hello, my name is michelle, and i'm a pork addict.

Su-Lin said...

Wow, I'm honoured, Marianna! Thank you so much!

Like diva said, though, you deserve massive congratulations yourself, what with your beautiful photos and equally gorgeous writing!

And thanks for the heads up on the other blogs too - thanks to you, I've just discovered Sugarhead and The Sugar Bar!

Angela said...

Great blog! What a joy to discover you. I love this recipe. So simple, yet sumptuous! Nice work!

Antonio Tahhan said...

the flavor profile of this pasta is exquisite!! I love adding nuts to pasta, but have never tried adding hazelnuts. It must be to die for!!

Girlie said...

The pasta looks amazing - and thank you so much for the award! You're awesome.

Kate / Kajal said...

Marianna, i really admire your ability to make a plate of food look so delectable. gr8 presentation girl :)

Anonymous said...

I love your presentation in the first photo ;)

Daziano said...

Hazelnuts and pasta!!!! Delicious!!!!! I love the photos too!