Spring, one way or the other

Trenette al pesto

Today was the first full day of Spring. It was, unfortunately, gray, cool and we had snow flurries this morning.

We haven’t had a bad winter, and I don’t mean to complain. Still we are ready to be done with the cold and the gray.

In an effort to welcome the season despite the weather, we opted to have a dish for dinner that reminds us of sunny, warm climes.

On our 2011 visit to the Cinque Terre in Italy, we had the local favorite known as “trenette al pesto.”

We’re all familiar with pesto, that wonderful sauce of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil and cheese. The traditional presentation in and around Genoa is to use the sauce to dress a bowl full of pasta (trenette, the Genovese “fettucini“) along with sliced, boiled new potatoes and fresh green beans.

Really! Pasta and potatoes in the same dish. And green beans for good measure. All dressed in fragrant, rich pesto. How could this not be good!

So, tonight, with company coming over and a real need for something to make us “think spring,” we whipped up a batch.  It did the trick.

Trenette al pesto

  • 1 pound fettucini
  • 4 new potatoes, boiled until just done and then peeled, sliced thin
  • 6 ounces fresh green beans, cleaned and cooked in salted, boiling water until just crisp tender
  • 1 cup of your favorite pesto, more or less to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions. When done, drain, reserving 1/3 to 1/2 cup pasta water. Stir pasta water into pesto until blended. In large bowl, toss pasta with potato slices and cooked green beans. Add pesto and toss again.

Serves 4

Enjoy!

 

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3 Responses to “Spring, one way or the other”

  1. sassiitalytours Says:

    There really is no substitute for the deliciousness of some fresh basil…thanks for sharing!

    The wife is allergic to pine nuts, so I’ve tried making pesto with walnuts instead and it usually comes out OK, but I’m wondering if some slightly sweeter cashews will be a good twist on a classic.

    • Jim Carlucci Says:

      Agreed! It is the freshness of the basil that makes it.

      Sorry about your wife’s allergy. I’ve read of but never tried the walnut version of pesto. We love the pine nuts so much…especially if we toast them up a little before adding them to the pesto.

      Let us know how the cashews work out if you try them.

      • sassiitalytours Says:

        Will do! Have a bag of them right now and a bag of that basil that comes in the plastic bag from the local Whole Foods…tempting to try it. I can’t ever get that stuff to live very long in the kitchen, but until my mom gets her summer garden going it’ll tide me over :).

        We modify a lot of Italian recipes to suit our dietary quirks. We eat all but 100% vegetarian minus the fish once in a rare while here, so guanciale and bacon are out. But I don’t live without my carbonara!

        The fake bacon you can get at the grocery store makes a good stand in if you saute it with some garlic and shallots and lots of oil and pepper. I’ve fooled a couple folks with it.

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