Tag Archives: pine nuts

Reginette with Pine Nut & Marjoram Pesto

One of our favorite summer dishes is fresh pasta (either round corzetti or the long, curly ribbons known as reginette, pictured here) tossed with a highly fragrant pine nut pesto. We look forward to this Ligurian specialty in the cold of winter, when fresh marjoram is not an option, and make it almost weekly when the marjoram on our deck starts to grow in. For a lighter (but no less delicious) version of the sauce, you can omit the heavy cream and double the milk, as we often do at home.

This recipe is adapted from my latest cookbook, The Best Pasta Sauces.

Serves 2

For the pesto:

  • 3 tablespoons marjoram leaves
  • 1 plump garlic clove, peeled
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • ¼ cup whole milk, plus extra as needed
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup (1 ounce) freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

For the reginette:

  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup semolina flour, plus extra for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs

To cook:

  • 2 tablespoons salt


Make the pesto: Combine all the ingredients except the Parmigiano in a food processor and process until smooth. Place in a bowl large enough to accommodate the pasta later, and stir in the Parmigiano. If the sauce seems too thick, dilute with additional milk; the pesto should have the texture of heavy cream, but it won’t be perfectly smooth due to the nuts.

(The pesto keeps in the refrigerator up to 1 week as long as it is topped with a thin layer of olive oil; it can also be frozen for up to 1 month if the Parmigiano has not been stirred in.)


Make the reginette: Mix the flour, semolina flour, and salt on a counter and shape into a mound. Make a well in the center and add the eggs to the well. Using your fingertips, work the flour into the eggs, then gather into a dough and knead by hand; add a little water if the dough is too dry or a little flour if it is too moist. Knead for 10 minutes, or until smooth, then shape into a ball, wrap in plastic, and let rest 30 minutes.

Cut the pasta dough into 4 pieces. Working with 1 piece at a time and keeping the others covered, roll out each piece using a pasta machine into a thin sheet. Sprinkle each sheet generously with semolina flour and roll up loosely jelly roll-style. Cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips with curly edges using a reginette attachment. Toss with semolina flour to prevent sticking. Spread out in a single layer on a few semolina-dusted trays. (If you don’t have a reginette attachment, you can order one from Fantes or simply cut into tagliatelle or pappardelle, or whatever shape you fancy.)

To cook: Bring 5 quarts of water to a boil. Add the salt and the reginette and cook until al dente; drain, reserving 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.

Stir 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water into the pesto in the serving bowl. Add the drained pasta, and stir to coat. Adjust the salt if necessary and stir in additional reserved pasta cooking water if the sauce seems too thick to properly coat the pasta. Serve hot.


Silky Squash Blossoms with Pine Nuts, Garlic, & Marjoram

The season for squash blossoms is almost over: we may have another few days or so to enjoy these colorful flowers. In Italy, squash blossoms are often deep-fried, sometimes stuffed with fresh cheese and anchovies, enrobed in a light batter before they crisp to golden perfection in hot olive oil. But they are also stirred into pasta sauces, added to frittate, dragged in a hot pan with aromatics as a side dish, or baked under a dusting of grated Parmigiano. I love squash blossoms every which way; their delicate floral sweetness is haunting, the romance of eating a flower only part of the pleasure.

Here is the way I prepared squash blossoms last week, after a trip to a nearby farmer’s market. We grow marjoram on our deck, but basil or parsley would be equally delicious if marjoram is hard to find. To stretch the pleasure, serve the blossoms with fresh tagliatelle you’ve boiled and tossed with olive oil and grated Parmigiano: delicious.

One word of advice: squash blossoms are very delicate, so buy them the day you plan to cook them.

Serves 2

  • 16 squash blossoms
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • 1 teaspoon fresh marjoram leaves
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Rinse the blossoms thoroughly under a thin, light spray of cool water, gently opening out the leaves and running your fingers inside each blossom to remove any small insects.

Using your fingers, remove the hard long stem inside each blossom. It is bitter and must be removed.


Remove the thin thorn-like filaments running up from the bottom of each blossom, just above where the stem ends.

Cut off the stem at the bottom of each blossom, just where it meets the bud (be careful not to cut it too high or you will make a hole in the base of the blossom).

Blot the blossoms dry on paper towels.

Place the olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and marjoram in a 12-inch skillet. Set over medium heat and cook until the aroma begins to rise, about 2 minutes, watching that the pine nuts do not burn and stirring as needed.

Raise the heat under the skillet to high. Add the blossoms and cook 3 minutes, or until they wilt to a soft, tangled mass and any liquid has evaporated. Season with the salt and pepper, taste for seasoning, and serve hot.