Classy Snack Time: Pine Nut Butter on Crisp Bread

Pine Nut Butter on Crackers

Move over, peanut butter and jelly sandwich! I’ve got something classy for snack time. We’ve all heard of all the alternative types of nut butter like almond butter or cashew butter.  But what about pine nuts? I experimented this past week, and ended up with something rather elegant.

Pine nuts aren’t cheap so this isn’t something you’ll be making everyday, and it’s way too fancy to spread on white bread with grape jelly. Rather, I suggest spreading it on a healthy crackers like Wasa or Kavli crisp bread, topped with some salt, pepper, and oregano. Serve with a few slices of parmesan cheese on the side, and it’s fit to offer to guests, but also makes an indulgent, savory treat for yourself. Enjoy!

Pine Nut Butter on Crisp Bread

1 cup pine nuts
Olive oil
Crisp bread crackers like Kavli or Wasa
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper
Dried oregano

Heat up a skillet over medium heat. Lightly toast the pine nuts until they start to brown. Keep your eye on them and keep shaking the pan. You do not want to burn them!

Let the toasted pine nuts cool to room temperature. Pour them into your food processor with a small drizzle of good olive oil and pinch of salt. Process until smooth. You may need to occasionally stop and scrape down the sides of your food processor until you get the right consistency.

Spread the pine nut butter on crisp bread crackers. Top with kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a pinch of dried oregano. Dig in, like the classy person you are. Store the remaining pine nut butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Pine Nut Butter

Lunch and Dinner

Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Pine Nuts

I’ll be the first to admit it. Mushrooms are weird. They grow in the strangest places and conditions. They’re funny looking. And something about eating fungi is just not sexy. Yet they are low in calories, rich in nutrients, and one of the rare foods that are a natural source of Vitamin D. Mushrooms are pretty darn tasty too.

Usually used as a garnish, mushrooms often feel more like an afterthought than the star of a dish. But let’s change that. In an effort to get my ‘shroom on more often, I’m trying to think of more mushroom-based recipes. The easiest option is probably making a nice, clean mushroom burger. Or, The Stonesoup’s Anti-Cancer Mushroom Soup looks good and is on my to-make list. But this week, I made mushroom spaghetti.

I was delighted to find an Open Lasagna of Mushrooms, Pine Nuts and Thyme recipe in The Produce Bible (Amazon affiliate program link) by Leanna Kitchen. Her real last name surely can’t be Kitchen…can it?! Anyhow. I found the idea of an open lasagna too fussy, plus I had spaghetti on hand, so I adapted her recipe to make this lovely dish. With bacon, mushrooms, and pecorino cheese, it’s like an umami bomb in your mouth. Ohhhh yeah.

Spaghetti with Mushrooms and Pine Nuts
Makes 4 servings

Adapted from The Produce Bible by Leanne Kitchen

1/2 pound whole wheat spaghetti
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 cups your favorite assorted mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces
3 slices of bacon, cut into pieces of similar size to the mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
4 tablespoons pine nuts
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Pecorino cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Put spaghetti in and boil for about 10-11 minutes uncovered, until al dente. You can start the next steps while spaghetti is boiling, but remember to drain pasta as soon as it is done.

Heat the butter in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Heat up another small, dry skillet over low heat and toss the pine nuts in. Add the mushrooms and bacon to the large pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes or until golden brown, stirring often. Simultaneously, shake the skillet with the pine nuts frequently to ensure even browning.

Add the garlic and thyme into the pan with the mushrooms and cook for a minute. If your pan is looking very watery, carefully pour out some of the liquid. Then take the pine nuts off the heat and add them to the mushrooms along with the heavy cream and extra virgin olive oil. Season to taste, taking into account that you will be topping this with salty pecorino. Stir to combine. Remove from heat.

Divide the spaghetti into 4 servings and evenly distribute the mushroom mixture over the servings of spaghetti. Top each with a generous amount of freshly grated pecorino and serve.