Spaghetti con Pignoli Arrosti (with Roasted Pine Nuts)

Spaghetti con Pignoli Arrosti (with Roasted Pine Nuts) is my own creation, but the Italian name gives it a bit more gravitas, which I think it deserves. The secret to the incredibly rich flavor of this pasta begins and ends with the roasted pine nuts. I toast them to a deep mahogany brown, which results in a robust flavor that permeates the entire dish.

I came up with this recipe accidentally— while I was assembling my Pasta Primavera Packets  I added the pine nuts to the pasta first and I got the strongest urge to just stop right there and eat.

Of course pine nuts aren’t really nuts at all, they’re the seeds of the pine tree. They have a creamy sweet flavor when raw, but toasting brings out their complex rich flavor. It’s a little like the difference between raw and toasted sesame seeds, and if you’ve ever had toasted sesame oil, you’ll know the kind of intensity I’m talking about. I usually toast nuts and seeds in a dry pan on the stove or in the oven, but for this pasta I heat them in a good amount of olive oil, and the nuts and oil together make the ‘sauce’. The oil will actually turn a nice deep brown, but don’t worry, it’s not burned, it’s been colored by the toasted nuts.

This dish is about as simple as pasta gets; so simple that you’ll be surprised at how satisfying it is. I leave the parsley leaves whole, and shave little chunks of good Parmesan cheese right onto the finished dish so you can just toss and eat. It’s the ultimate effortless-chic little lunch for two.

This dish has a nice combination of textures, as well. Make sure to cook your pasta correctly, just to the al dente stage, and it will be slightly chewy. The pine nuts have a unique soft crunch, and finally there’s the firm bite of the thin chunks of Parmesan.

Toss half of the pasta with the hot nut and oil mixture, and spoon the rest of the sauce over each individual serving. This way you won’t lose all the nuts to the bottom of the pan or bowl.

Spaghetti with roasted pin nuts in a wooden bowl


If you like pine nuts I highly recommend trying this, it’s a winner. Pine nuts are expensive at regular grocery stores, so try Trader Joe’s or Costco for a better value.

4 from 7 votes

Spaghetti con Pignoli Arrosto (Spaghetti with Roasted Pine Nuts)

Author Sue Moran


  • 5-6 oz pasta I think a strand pasta works best here, I used spaghetti
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts don't skimp
  • 1/2 cup parsley leaves
  • squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • shavings of Parmesan cheese
  • fresh cracked black pepper
  • finely shredded lemon zest for garnish optional


  • Put the oil and pine nuts in a small 7" saute pan or saucepan. Heat the oil and nuts. stirring constantly, until the nuts turn a nice deep brown. Don't walk away, they can burn quickly. If you feel it's getting too hot too fast, pull the pan up off the heat and continue to stir. You don't want high heat here--- low to medium is fine, and once the oil is hot the nuts will brown in just a minute or so.
  • Cook the spaghetti in lots of salty water to just the al dente stage. You want it to be firm, not mushy.
  • Drain the pasta and toss with about half of the oil and pine nuts, give it a good squeeze of lemon juice, add the parsley and several grinds of fresh black pepper.
  • Divide the pasta between two bowls and top with the rest of the nuts and the shards of Parmesan. Add a little lemon zest if you want to be extra fancy.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

Spaghetti con Pignoli Arrosti (with Roasted Pine Nuts) #pasta #Italian #recipe #easy #meatless #vegetarian #dinner #healthy #pinenuts #mediterranean #30minute

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  • Reply
    Don Doehla
    November 8, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Hello Sue, as a newly retired world languages teacher, I am enjoying getting back to the kitchen much more regularly. I have tried several of your recipes, and enjoy your emails which entice me to try something new. Thanks for all the great recipes. I am looking forward to trying this one with my wife next week!

    Permit me to lend a small bit of “teacher” input about your recipe title. Sorry, I can’t let it go yet! As your recipe title refers rightly to ‘pignoli’ in the masculine plural form, your description word also needs to be masculine plural, thus ‘arrosti,’ rather than ‘arrosto,’ is the correct spelling. A small thing, it seems, but correct nonetheless. In the end, it makes no difference to the recipe, which, of course, is the more important thing!

    Thanks, Sue! Keep top the great work!


    • Reply
      November 8, 2017 at 10:11 am

      Haha, duly noted Don ~ I’ll make the correction! And this is one of my personal favorite recipes on the blog, so you have good taste 😉

  • Reply
    The Café Sucré Farine
    April 18, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    You make the simplest ingredients look so amazing Sue! Love this dish, it looks delicious and like something I’d love to eat every day if I didn’t have to watch the old girlish figure! 🙂

  • Reply
    shannon weber
    April 19, 2013 at 12:59 am

    i LOVE this; there was a huge sigh when i saw all the pine nuts, because i am borderline obsessed with them. I’ve never toasted them (or any nuts) in oil (i normally dry toast) but it’s intriguing! especially for pasta, where i imagine they fit in really well.

  • Reply
    belleau kitchen
    April 18, 2013 at 7:58 am

    sometimes the simplest things are the best… this is like a deconstructed pesto in a way and I love it… I adore pine nuts, they’re just so toasty!… beautiful work my friend!

  • Reply
    SavoringTime in the Kitchen
    April 18, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    I love toasted pine nuts in salads but I’ve never tried them on pasta, silly me. This looks so simple but so delicious!

  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    April 17, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Gorgeous, Sue! And the one recipe on my entire site with pine nuts, 4 yrs later (and it calls for 1/2 cup) I still get emails from people saying they’re too expensive and what else can they use. Nothing. 🙂 Glad you used them here!

  • Reply
    Debby Foodiewife
    April 18, 2013 at 1:52 am

    I keep pine nuts in my freezer, as a staple. I love them toasted! This pasta is so simple and yet it looks so satisfying.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    Ooh, I love it! This pasta does sound really easy–and really satisfying as well. Yay!

  • Reply
    Heather Schmitt-Gonzalez
    April 18, 2013 at 12:12 am

    Mmmmmm…gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous! I can almost taste it from here, it sounds amazing. I love that deep color.

  • Reply
    Valentina Rice
    April 17, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Just finished making pesto with leftover basil for the freezer and now have left over pine nuts! Your delicious looking recipe couldn’t have come at a better time! Thank you.

  • Reply
    Tricia Buice
    April 17, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    I’m with Mary – I gotta try this one! Your food is always so pretty – and this is not exception. Sounds and looks amazing – congratulations on a successful creation!

  • Reply
    Mary Younkin
    April 17, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    oooh, this one is going to be tried asap. I’ve been using pine nuts a lot lately and this sounds fantastic!

  • Reply
    April 17, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Toasted pine nuts have such a rich, buttery flavor. Can’t wait to try this lovely recipe, Sue. This is definitely a case of less being more.

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