This month, for the first time, I traveled to Italy; visiting Venice, Florence, and Rome. It was just what I needed to refuel my imagination. I'm happy to say, this trip was good for me, and I am eager to cook, bake, and paint again!
Beauty abounds in Italy and it felt good to be behind my camera lens again, capturing the images that inspire me.
The food I enjoyed in Italy was everything I hoped it would be, except for one disappointing meal
The Spaghetti Carbanara was eaten in the shadow of the Rialto Bridge in Venice; our table just inches from the canal. The Cacio e Pepe is a favorite of my daughter, Claire, and insisted I have some in Rome.
Cacio e Pepe
I hauled back a conservative load of food items from Italy -- an enormous wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano, a small bottle of balsamic, and olive oil. Also, ingredients for Tagliatelle with Truffles (my best meal in Florence), but that was it. And when I use those ingredients in the coming weeks, it will make me happy.
Before I left for Italy, I read an article by a Venetian writer on her love of Orecchiette Pasta with Pistachio Pesto. I found the recipe below and have made it twice. I absolutely love it, as does my family. Purchasing shelled pistachios make this an easy and quick pasta to prepare. Please try it and let me know how you like it!
Recipe by Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo
• 7 ounces unsalted roasted shelled pistachios (1 1/2 cups)
• 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 2 tablespoons chopped mint
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1/2 cup finely shredded pecorino cheese, plus more for serving
• 2 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths and julienned
• 1 pound orecchiette
1. In a food processor, chop the pistachios. Add the olive oil, mint and garlic and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the 1/2 cup of cheese and the scallions; season with salt
2. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta to the pot. Add the cooking water and the pesto and cook over low heat, tossing, until coated. Serve, passing more cheese at the table.