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Orecchiette with Hazelnuts and Goat Cheese

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  1. 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  2. 1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
  3. 1 cup fresh goat cheese (1/2 pound), at room temperature
  4. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  5. 1/4 cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  6. 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper
  7. 1 1/2 pounds orecchiette
  8. Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Spread the bread crumbs in a pie plate and toast for about 4 minutes, or until golden.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a food processor, pulse the hazelnuts until finely chopped. Transfer to a very large serving bowl and stir in the goat cheese, olive oil, parsley and crushed red pepper.
  3. Add the orecchiette to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Transfer the orecchiette to the serving bowl. Add the pasta cooking water, season with salt and pepper and toss well to coat the pasta with the sauce. Sprinkle the orecchiette with the toasted bread crumbs and serve right away.

Suggested Pairing

A white wine from the Fruili Grave region in Italy with nutty undertones works well with the flavors here.

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