Pronto Pesto!

I made a quick and easy pesto this evening with trofie, a short, skinny pasta from Liguria. The first thing I did was put a big pot of water over high heat. It’s important to always use a lot of water whenever you are cooking pasta. You want the pasta to roll around the big pot. For the pesto sauce, I started out by toasting pine nuts (pignoli) for about 5 minutes over medium heat. I used about 2 oz. of pine nuts.

Meanwhile, in my food processor, I added 2 cloves of garlic, a big bunch of basil (only the leaves), about a 1/4 cup each of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Romano, a couple of pinches of salt and a few turns of the pepper mill. I turned the processor on and started to slowly pour in extra virgin olive oil (about a cup total). The olive oil I used is from the Italian Riviera, which is part of Liguria. Once the ingredients were pureed, I put in the pine nuts and a tablespoon of softened unsalted butter (not really traditional, but I find it makes the sauce creamy). I turned the processor back on just until the pine nuts started to break up.

Once the water came to a boil, I added salt to the pot about 3 tablespoons. I’m always a little heavy handed with the salt. But I grew being told that the pasta water should taste as salty as the Mediterranean Sea (corny, perhaps, but words I live by). Any how, I added the trofie to the boiling, salted water and let it cook for approximately 12 minutes. You always have to taste your pasta throughout its cooking. Your teeth are the best judge of doneness.

When the trofie were done cooking, I added them to the pan I used to toast the pine nuts. I also reserved the pasta just in case I needed to thin the pesto out a bit. I then poured my pesto sauce over the trofie, and tossed until the trofie were evenly coated with the sauce.

I plated the dish by using a pasta/soup bowl. I put a couple of spoonful of the trofie into the bowl and anointed it with a drizzle of the extra virgin olive oil. I also sprinkled some of the grated cheese over the top. And that was it. A simple pasta dish for a hot Monday evening, the last one in August. Buon Appetito! Enjoy!

Living to eat,
Tony Mangia


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