I love a good nationally televised event. The sort of thing that's an excuse to have people over for an informal meal - to eat, to drink, to shout at the screen. The Ashes have come and gone, and while I count the sleeps til next year's World Cup, I'll make do with what's on offer and last Saturday here in Australia, that was the federal election... which really in the end, was all about this pasta. It was simple, delicious and - unlike Australian politics last weekend - completely surprising.
Surprising because of how few ingredients the recipe called for and how unexpected their combination. Nuts are par for the course in pasta (pesto being case in point), but nuts with sultanas is more commonly trail mix than main course. And dried oregano, while standard in Italian cooking, isn't an obvious pairing with either of those two. But together, somehow, they work. The nuts are crunchy, the garlic fragrant and the sultanas like little bursts of sweetness perfectly complementing the salty bite of the parmesan.
A note to all of you sultana/raisin-phobes out there - I served this to one of your kind Saturday night (after first giving them the option of a different sauce, which they bravely declined) and they not only had seconds but went searching for extra sultanas at the bottom of the serving dish! What did I tell you? Surprising!
Spaghetti alla Foriana
Adapted from Edward Giobbi's recipe, as published on Food 52
This sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up to 12 days in a jar, covered with olive oil. In the interests of full disclosure, I confess I did not make the pasta, just the sauce. One of the pleasures of having people over is having help in the kitchen, especially when that help arrives with a pasta machine, dough and a camera to take these photographs!
1 cup walnuts
1 cup pinenuts
10 large cloves garlic, sliced
3 teaspoons dried oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra
1/2 cup sultanas (golden raisins)
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
spaghetti to serve 4 (dried or freshly made)
Place both nuts and garlic in food processor and pulse to a fine chop, until the mix looks like damp granola. Add the oregano and pulse a few more times to combine.
Cook your pasta til al dente (according to packet/recipe instructions).
While pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in medium-size skillet over a medium heat. Add the nut mixture, the sultanas, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning or searing.
Toss sauce through drained pasta, drizzle liberally with extra oil and serve with grated parmesan or pecorino.