The dish with sole and hazelnut emulsion with romanesco we recently had at a fancy restaurant in Amsterdam was not such a big success because the sole was overpowered by the hazelnut emulsion, but it did inspire me to make this pasta dish because it made me realize that hazelnut and romanesco work very well together. Romanesco is an Italian green variety of cauliflower. If you can’t find it, you could substitute with regular cauliflower. A hazelnut emulsion is basically a warm mayonnaise made with hazelnut oil. I was happy with the result, as also in this pasta dish the combination worked very well and it was a nice variety from other pasta dishes that I make. Because of the nuts it is not really needed to eat a secondo of meat afterwards. And it only takes about 20 minutes to make.
For 2 servings
1 small romanesco (green cauliflower), florets only
150-200 grams (0.33-0.44 lbs) penne pasta
3 Tbsp hazelnuts, chopped
120 ml (1/2 cup) hazelnut oil
3 egg yolks
drop of fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground white pepper
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
Keep beating and add the hazelnut oil slowly.
Serve immediately on warm plates.
Many dry Italian white wines have a ‘nutty’ aroma and will work well with the hazelnuts, but for the consistency of the hazelnut emulsion a well-rounded wine is required. Many, but not all, Fiano di Avellino have undergone malolactic fermentation and are therefore more round than those without. We had a Fiano di Avellion that had undergone malo with this dish, and it worked pretty well.