Add Toasted Hazelnuts To Pasta For An Elevated Weeknight Dinner

chef sprinkles pasta with hazelnuts
chef sprinkles pasta with hazelnuts - BGStock72/Shutterstock

Pasta makes for the perfect dinner any night, but especially on those busy nights when you can't be bothered to cook but want something satisfying and comforting in your stomach. Just because this meal is convenient doesn't mean it can't be fancy, though. There are many ways to enhance a simple pasta in order to transform it into something spectacular, including something as simple as adding a unique garnish. That is why we recommend adding toasted hazelnuts to your next pasta dish.

Hazelnuts are known for their rich, earthy flavor and their buttery, crunchy texture. When toasted, these traits only get that much better, with their flavor becoming slightly sweeter and their texture becoming even more snappy, along with the nut taking on a golden hue and giving off a mouth-watering aroma. These features complement many pasta dishes by adding contrast to the chewy noodles and giving the meal's taste added complexity. Toasted hazelnuts are primarily seen in sweeter, more indulgent pasta, such as in Tasting Table's recipe for hazelnut cream pasta from Miriam Hahn. However, they can also be found in savory pasta that features ingredients like brown butter, where the hazelnuts mirror the existing rich flavor.

Read more: 44 Types Of Pasta And When You Should Be Using Them

How To Toast Hazelnuts

pile of whole toasted hazelnuts
pile of whole toasted hazelnuts - Jannhuizenga/Getty Images

The easiest way to toast hazelnuts is by using your oven. Spread your hazelnuts on a lined baking sheet and place them into the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. After about 10 minutes, the nuts should be fragrant and slightly darker in color. At this point, you can remove them from the oven and allow them to cool before rubbing off the dark, flaky skins. For added convenience, you may be able to buy pre-peeled hazelnuts at your local grocery.

When done toasting, roughly chop or crush the hazelnuts to be sprinkled liberally over your finished pasta. Toasted hazelnuts pair well with a wide variety of other toppings and garnishes, and we recommend combining several for a truly unforgettable meal. For example, you can accompany your hazelnuts with a quenelle of mascarpone cheese for an extra luxurious plate. Alternatively, you may wish to pair the nuts with crispy fried sage leaves for an earthier flavor and additional textural intrigue. These celebrated nuts are as versatile as they are delicious, so don't be afraid to experiment with your own recipes to find the version of this trick that works best for you and your palate.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.