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52 New Recipes in 2010 – 02, Tagliatelle with Hazelnut Sauce

January 20, 2010

A couple of years ago, I got the River Café Cookbook Green for my birthday, and I don’t use it nearly enough. At least, I frequently look at the beautiful pictures and long for the days when I’ll be able to afford to buy obscure Italian vegetables and fancy cheeses and look at recipes calling for ‘4 vanilla pods’ without wincing. But while it hasn’t been used much for day-to-day things, I often look at it if I need a recipe for something special – there’s a fantastic walnut and almond cake I once took to dinner with a boyfriend’s parents, and once baked for a glorious tea-fuelled weekend with my uni friends, and a wonderfully rich recipe for pasta with asparagus and parmesan which I made…. well, asparagus season is a special occasion, right?

Anyway, one of my friends did something extremely kind for me a while ago, in exchange for which I promised to cook her dinner. It is to my shame that I’ve only just got around to this, and I felt she deserved something special. Due to the mysterious dearth of green, leafy vegetables in London last week, which foiled my plan A, I opted for the River Café’s ‘tagliatelle with hazelnut sauce’. I’m not sure I’ve ever made anything which called for garlic cloves and cocoa powder in the same dish before, but the overall effect was very pleasant. And no, it doesn’t taste like Nutella. =)

Chop up hazelnuts and garlic really small (or use a food processor if you have one), mix up with lots of cream, a splosh of brandy, some olive oil, a small amount of cocoa powder and lots of Parmesan. Bit of salt, pepper, chilli flakes/dried chilli and nutmeg, then stir into tagliatelle. Yum!

Unfortunately, I don’t have a photo of it – it’s one thing to photograph your food alone, quite another when eating with friends (non-foodie friends, at least!!) – so here is one of the walnut and almond cake instead. At least, what was left of it after it had been in the same room as me and my friends for a few hours…

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