Pistachio and lemon pasta? Whaaaaa? I thought the same until I was passed a very artfully twisted fork of this at Bar Stuzzichini, an Italian spot in the Flatiron district of Manhattan. Wow! Very fresh, unique, light and delish. Of course I didn't think it was better than my gnocchi all'amatriciana, which is guanciale, or pork jowl. But that's why we like to share. I just don't pass up the opportunity to eat pork jowl. Or pork anything, really. Crispy pig tails? Haven't quite got there yet....
So this is my version, I think it's pretty close, although I certainly didn't use the tagliolini as the restaurant menu describes. Knowing all the Italian names for pasta is certainly a life-long quest, as is traversing the wine regions of Italy. Did you know there's more than 500 varietals scattered throughout the 20 'official' wine districts in the boot? Time to put aside the chianti and sangiovese and get to it!
I honestly can't remember what the pairing was for this dish, so I guess I'll suggest one of my fav Italian reds- Barbera D'alba, it's fun stuff. You'll like it or I'll refund your money.
Pistachio Lemon Linguine
1 lb. linguine
2 TB EVOO
1 medium onion, diced
2 TB butter
3 TB AP flour
2 C milk
2 C chicken stock, homemade preferred
1 ts kosher salt
1/2 fresh cracked black pepper
2 TB lemon zest (bout 2 lemons worth)
4 TB fresh lemon juice
1 C shelled pistachios, roughly chopped
1 1/4 C good parmigiano-reggiano
Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente.
Combine the milk and stock in a medium saucepan and warm up over low heat, do not boil. While the pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onion and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle in the flour and whisk for 3 minutes to make a light roux. Add the warm liquid in a steady stream, whisking to incorporate. Stir almost constantly for about 10 minutes, or until nice and thick. Season with S&P.
If you like, (I actually did) strain the sauce to remove the solids, then return to the skillet. Add the lemon juice and zest, pistachios and 1 C parm-reg. Stir to combine, then add the pasta to the mix-use tongs to remove the pasta from the cooking water-you'll bring a bit of that water along to help the sauce, vs. draining the pasta completely.
Top with the remaining parm-reg and a couple turns of the pepper mill.
If you think the linguine looks a little thin and might actually be whole wheat spaghetti, well, give yourself a gold star...all I had on hand that day was some 'ghetti. Linguine or fettuccine would work better, however, to help transport the tasty sauce to your flapper. If you can find tagliolini, then you must be in an Italian deli or grocery store. Enjoy!