This Monday, October 25, is World Pasta Day, a day devoted to one of the world’s most loved carbohydrate. I’ve decided to join in the celebration by sharing a recipe from the new book, The Geometry of Pasta. After all, what better time is there to share a review of a book dedicated entirely to pasta? Especially when the book contains fun recipes, like this one for Tortelloni Di Ricotta Al Pesto Di Noci Tostate (the fancy-pants Italian way of saying, “tortellini with burnt walnut pesto”)?
This fun little book isn’t your standard cookbook at all, which is pretty evident before you even open it. The book is small but thick — like a long novel — and the striking graphic cover is as close to an illustration as you’ll get. But while this book lacks glossy photos (which we all know I love), there’s definitely no shortage of unique recipes. The Geometry of Pasta contains over 100 recipes, each featuring simple ingredients and designed to pair the perfect shape of pasta with the perfect sauce. While that may seem like overkill, there really is an art to figuring out whether a new sauce will pair better with a hearty, ridged pasta or with a smooth angel hair. This book takes the guesswork out of it — and introduces you to pasta shapes you’ve probably never heard of!
Some of the recipes are a little strange (I think I’ll pass on the alphabet pasta with ketchup, though I’m sure a little kid would find it to be a great alternative to spaghetti-o’s) and some of the pasta shapes may be hard to find but with so many recipes, this book has something for everyone. I was a huge fan of this tortellini recipe; cooking it was fun and eating it was even better. The combination of sauce and shape really was ideal — the chunky pesto settled perfectly into the curves of the tortellini, ensuring no sauce was left behind in the bottom of the bowl.
I also loved how the recipes in this book were written. They’re slightly vague, which might be frustrating to those less comfortable in the kitchen, but they remind me of something that might have been passed down by a grandparent — very, very authentic. The dual indexes — one in Italian and one in English – were also a nice touch that I appreciated a lot. While this is definitely more of a specialty cookbook than something you would use every day, it’s a great addition to your collection if you’re a fan of pasta or Italian cuisine.
- 1 pound fresh filled pasta
- ½ clove garlic, evenly and very thinly sliced
- Sunflower or corn oil for frying
- ¾ cup shelled walnuts
- ¾ teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Crunchy Sea Salt (e.g. Maldon)
- Grated Parmesan, to serve
- Starting from cold, fry the garlic in oil (enough to eventually cover the nuts) in a small pan over medium-low heat. When garlic turns golden brown, remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper.
- Add walnuts to the oil and fry until they are as dark as you can get them without burning, keep in mind that they will continue to brown as they cool.
- Crush the crispy garlic and thyme leaves in a mortar and pestle until fine, then add the walnuts and pound, but leave a little texture. Add the olive oil and stir in crunchy salt to taste, also seasoning with pepper.
- Add plenty of salt to give the sauce a lift, can be refrigerated for a long time but serve at room temperature.
- Serve sparsely drizzled over al dente pasta topped with shavings of parmesan.