pine nuts

Popular since ancient times; writers since Ovid and Pliny have testified to their aphrodisiac benefits. Pinoli appear in main courses and also desserts. Many southern (especially Sicilian) dishes pair them with raisins, showing the Arab influence.

The name also refers to cantuccini made with pine nuts instead of almonds.

There is some controversy over the spelling. Pignoli, as pine nuts (and the cookies made with them) are often spelled in the US, may look more correct. But it's really Sicilian dialect.

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