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Saffron Linguine with Herb Oil and Shaved Manchego Cheese

Yield 4 FIRST-COURSE SERVINGS
Sharp cheeses such as Manchego and Pecorino stand up to lusty Syrah. Fresh herbs and toasted almonds add complexity and texture to the pairing.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon chopped tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • Pinch of saffron threads
  • 1/2 pound linguine
  • 1/4 pound Manchego or young Pecorino cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted until golden
  • Freshly ground pepper

How to Make It

  1. In a blender, puree the parsley with the mint, olive oil, tarragon, thyme and lemon juice. Scrape the oil into a bowl.

  2. Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the garlic and saffron and cook over low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  3. Cook the linguine in boiling salted water until al dente. Set the skillet with the garlic over moderately high heat and add 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta, add it to the skillet and toss well. Transfer the pasta to warmed shallow bowls. Top with the cheese shavings, toasted almonds and herb oil. Sprinkle the linguine with pepper and serve at once.