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Pasta with Green Beans and Almond Gremolata

Celery, an underappreciated vegetable relegated to making stocks, rarely gets the attention it deserves. It’s available at the Market year-round. In this dish, its pleasantly bitter leaves are used in a unique take on gremolata, a fresh herb condiment traditionally made with Italian parsley (which you can also use here). Snappy green beans, also readily available at the Market, round out this unassuming but impressive pasta you’ll want to make again and again no matter what the season.

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE GREMOLATA:

¼ cup sliced almonds

Scant 1/3 cup finely chopped celery leaves or parsley leaves

1 tablespoon lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon), plus more for serving

1 garlic clove, grated

Kosher salt

 

FOR THE PASTA:

500 grams pasta

350 grams string beans, trimmed and cut into bite size lengths

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon chilli flakes

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

¼ cup grated Pecorino or Parmesan, plus more for serving

Kosher salt, to taste

 

PREPARATION

Bring a large pot of well-salted water (2 heaped tablespoons kosher salt to about 1 litre water) to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large frying pan over medium-low heat, toast the almonds, stirring frequently so they don’t burn, about four to five minutes. Remove from heat. In a medium bowl, combine the almonds, celery or parsley leaves, lemon zest, garlic and a pinch of salt. Set aside and wipe out frying pan.

Add pasta to boiling water and cook until it is al dente, according to package directions. About two minutes before it’s done, add the beans to the pasta pot. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and drain the pasta and beans.

While the pasta and beans drain, make the sauce: Heat the olive oil in the large frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until the garlic is golden in colour, about 1 to 2 minutes. Turn heat to low and add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water to the frying pan (be careful of splattering) and cook until it is reduced by about half, 1 to 2 minutes more. Turn heat to medium and add the pasta, green beans and butter to the frying pan and toss until the butter melts. Add the cheese and an additional ¼ cup water and toss until the cheese is emulsified and the pasta is glossy with sauce. If needed, add an additional ¼ cup pasta water to loosen. Season with kosher salt, to taste.

Transfer the pasta to a large bowl, top with gremolata and drizzle with more olive oil. Pass additional grated cheese at the table, if desired.

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