Serves: 2 as a main
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 20 min
ounces whole-wheat linguine or spaghetti
tablespoons olive oil
cup roughly chopped hazelnuts (50 to 55 grams)
sprig thyme, plus more for serving
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
garlic cloves, finely chopped
cup packed finely grated Pecorino Romano (30 grams), plus more for serving
tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
In This Recipe
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until quite al dente, about 2 minutes short of the recommended time on the package.
- Meanwhile, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high. When the oil is hot, add the sprig of thyme and let it sizzle. When it's changed color and shriveled, 1 to 2 minutes, add the hazelnuts. Cook, stirring often, until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes, then use a slotted spoon to transfer nuts and thyme to a paper towel-lined plate. Sprinkle with salt.
- Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Add the red pepper flakes and black pepper and let cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Turn the heat down to low.
- By now, the pasta should be finished. Scoop out 1 cup of pasta water to keep for the sauce, then drain the pasta and transfer to the skillet. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Mix in a couple tablespoons of pasta water, then sprinkle over a few tablespoons of pecorino and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon to melt in the cheese. Continue adding pasta water and cheese and mixing with verve until smooth and combined.
- Add the butter and mix until you have a glossy sauce, then mix in the zest and juice from half a lemon. Mix in the reserved hazelnuts and thyme. Taste for salt and lemon.
- Top with additional fresh thyme, black pepper, and grated pecorino.