Sunday, July 11, 2010
Penne with Calabrese style pesto
The other aspect I don't like about surprises is the suspense. Don;t you hate it when you walk into a room and everyone in it is on to something you don't know? They look at you, all expectant and barely able to contain themselves, and then —of course— someone yells "Guess what?"
Seriously, spare me the guessing. I loathe guessing. But you have to do it anyway, because they are relentless and everyone calls you a party pooper if you don't. So I guess. My guess usually is "you just got a promotion!", said with genuine enthusiasm and a tiny little hint of envy. Nope. I never guess it right. These days, because my friends are apparently getting old of the sudden, the only possible answers to their guessing game are either "We're getting married" or "We're having a baby". And since I'm not a wedding or a baby person there goes my "look happy" face, the one I learned to make when my great aunt gave me house plants for my birthday.
Of course there is such a thing as a good surprise, one that doesn't involve secretly planned birthday parties or guessing what happened. As it often happens in my life, most good surprises come from the kitchen —either mine or someone else's— or, in this case, from a cookbook I bought a while ago when I realized I was missing my cookbooks like crazy. Yes, people, the two things I miss the most about Florida are my boyfriend and my collection of cookbooks.
Anyhow, when I think of pesto, I usually think of the traditional Ligurian kind made with fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil. Little did I know that other regions —Sicily and Calabria for example— also make their own versions of it and use it over pasta or over toasted bread. The following recipe hails from Southern Italy, from Calabria, and let me tell you, it was so good it made me want to go there...
PENNE WITH CALABRESE STYLE PESTO
3/4 pound penne pasta
3 garlic cloves
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 tbsp capers
10 black olives, pitted
10 sun dried tomatoes
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes
A bunch of basil
Cook pasta according to directions. In the mean time wash and cube the cherry tomatoes. Place garlic, pine nuts, capers, olives, basil and sun dried tomatoes in a mixer and pulse until you obtain a coarse paste.
Heat olive oil in a large pan, sautee cubed cherry tomatoes for a couple of minutes, add the garlic and basil mix and season with salt if needed.
When pasta is cooked al dente, drain it, add it to the pan, sautee for one minute, stirring to combine with sauce and serve immediately.