Saffron Infused Pastina with Currants, Pine Nuts and Mint
by butterflydog

from NY, US

2/3 cup pine nuts
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 pound orzo, or other pastina (tiny pasta)
1/2 cup currants, plumped in hot water for abut 20 minutes and drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Fresh mint sprigs or leaves, garnish
Pomegranate seeds, optional, garnish
Orange blossom water, optional

Toast pine nuts by placing them in a small, heavy frying pan over moderate heat. Stir until they begin to turn golden. Remove from heat and pour onto a plate to cool. Set aside.

Dissolve saffron in olive oil and let stand about 15 minutes. Add garlic, lemon juice, cumin, turmeric, sugar, and salt and pepper taste. Set aside. Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente. Drain and rinse well in cold water, then drain again. Place in a large bowl and toss with saffron-flavored oil. Cool to room temperature, occasionally stirring the pasta to coat thoroughly.

Add pine nuts, drained currants, chopped mint, parsley and cilantro to pasta. Serve at room temperature, garnished with mint sprigs or leaves and pomegranate seeds, if available. Sprinkle lightly with orange blossom water just before serving, if desired.

Use as a side dish : Serve 8

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