Olympic Nuts

Day 2 of my cutting back marathon. I am not new at this. I grew up feeling flush when my mother cut the Carnation Powdered Instant with a 50% pour of fresh milk; I have hidden talents in the frugal department.
Let’s say it’s lover appreciation day (I call mine husband) and you want to make something special for the two of you, but steaks are out of the question. Grind up 1 cup of pignoli, 1 cup of walnuts and 3 cloves of garlic. If you have a large food processor, smash and mince the garlic first to make it uniform. Heat up a few tablespoons of olive oil and saute over a medium heat until a darker green but not browned, 2 tablespoons of fresh oregano. Add the nut mixture and continue to saute, stirring nearly constantly. Don’t ever leave it. When the smell of toasted nuts and garlic is getting the blood to pump through your veins just that much faster, let them go for one more minute. Turn off the flame and season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Zest a lemon and add just enough to taste. You are looking less for the taste of lemon and more for popping up the flavors of what you already have in the bowl.
Hook up a pot of boiling water with salt to make it delicious. When it is at a rolling boil, add about 9 ounces of orchiette or penne. Cook until al dente. Drain, reserving a few tablespoons of the cooking water. Combine with the nut mixture and add a drizzle of your best olive oil or a few tablespoons of unsalted, room temperature butter. Taste again for salt and pepper, and if it needs it, add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a tiny bit of finely minced flat leaf parsely. Serve with a side of pan roasted ripe tomatoes, a simple arugula and parmesan salad and chilled white crispy wine.
It will take you all the way to the finish line.

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