Thursday, August 06, 2015

Quick, Light Pasta That's Perfect for Summer

Contributor Jim Dixon of Real Good Food is particular about the products he carries, so when he adds a new item to his lineup, you can be sure it's been taste-tested at the Dixon household and is worthy of an appearance on his pantry shelf before he offers it to his customers. This recipe for whole wheat pasta sauced with a variation on the more familiar Genovese basil pesto sounds like the perfect solution to a light summer dinner.

Along with the dritta olives that make Pollinaria's great extra virgin olive oil, the farm in the mountains of Abruzzo, Italy, also grows an heirloom variety of semolina wheat called Senatore Cappelli that's used to make whole grain (grana duro in Italian) pasta. I've never been a fan of whole wheat pastas; most I've tried have been grainy and didn't have the unique flavor of good semolina pasta.

But last year I tried Pollinaria's and was surprised. It had the texture and taste of traditional Italian dried pasta. The Pollinaria pasta, made from their organic semolina wheat, is extruded through brass dies that give it the rough surface to hold sauce, and the pasta is slowly dried to allow the flavor to develop. While they make several types, production is limited and I was only able to get fettuccine this year. If you like it as much as I do, next year I'll try get penne and chitarra.

I cooked a batch of the fettuccine and ate it with pesto alla Trapanese, the almond and tomato sauce served across Sicily.

Pasta with Pesto alla Trapanese

Briefly toast a handful (about a cup) of almonds in a skillet until just beginning to brown. Combine the almonds in a food processor with two or three coarsely chopped tomatoes, a couple of garlic cloves, a handful of basil (I also added some mint), a pinch of salt and a good drizzle of olive oil. Pulse until well-blended but not completely pureed. Add a couple of big spoonfuls to bowl of cooked pasta*, sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano and eat.

* You can also substitute your favorite whole wheat or regular pasta for the Pollinaria.


Anonymous said...

Ya wanna hear weird? Every year my dad, Bill, would make his Garden Sauce and freeze it in containers for sauce all year long. This is almost identical to Dad's recipe! I didn't know it had a name. He sometimes used chopped walnuts or hazelnuts. As you know, all of our parents were not the Foodies that we've become, so I had NO idea how Dad came up with the recipe. Thanks, K!

- Marty

Kathleen Bauer said...

That's so cool, Marty! Are there perhaps some hidden Italians in your background?