Pasta (Trofie) with pesto sauce

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The recipe of this week is kindly offered by Massimo, an Italian friend (and cousin of one of us :-)) who lives in Houston together with his beautiful kids and his lovely wife.

Do you want to introduce yourself?

My name is Massimo Blaskovic. I am an Italian citizen and US permanent resident. I live in US since 2009, two of my three children are American citizens.

Where are you originally from?
I consider myself a Northeastern Italian, since I spent there the majority of my life in a town close to Trieste.
And now, talking about food, what’s your favourite Italian recipe which you use to prepare often and easily?
I like a lot Pasta al Pesto but my kids prefer Pasta alla Carbonara. I believe it is because of the tasty pancetta, which is quite a challenge to find here in US, so we usually go for smoked bacon instead.
What product do you miss mostly from Italy?
La salsiccia de cranio from Bepi Sciavo. (note: Bepi Sciavo is the most famous and oldest Buffet in Trieste, where Massimo comes from, and La salsiccia de cranio is one of the most delectable dish that Bepi serves).
About Pasta al pesto, what would you tell us?
Even if this is not a typical recipe of the region I am from, it is easy and quick to do, which is a must for a family with kids. You can prepare the sauce while you wait for the water to boil and the pasta to cook. And last but not least, the ingredients to prepare the pesto sauce are easy to find also in US.

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INGREDIENTS for 4 servings

320 gr trofie (or any other kind of pasta)
60 gr grated parmesan cheese
12 gr pine nuts
25 basil leaves
1 clove garlic, sliced
50 gr extra-virgin olive oil

Wash and dry the basil leaves. Crush some of the leaves with a mortar and pestle adding more gradually. Add the pine nuts little at a time together with the sliced clove of garlic and a pinch of cooking salt (Himalaia salt would be the best). Mash all the ingredients together until obtaining a smooth blending. Add the parmesan cheese and mix very well. Drizzle 50 gr of extra-virgin olive oil and mix until obtaining an homogeneous sauce.

Cook the pasta until al dente (follow the instruction here). If the pesto sauce is too thick, diluite it with a spoon of cooking water. Then drain the pasta add the pesto sauce, mixing very well.

Garnish the pasta with basil leaves and grated parmesan cheese.

TIPS: We have often eaten this dish with potatoes and green beans. If you wish to give it a try, place 1 waxy potato, peeled and cut into small cubes, into a large pot of water. Bring to a boil. Then add the pasta and continue to cook all together. After 2 minutes add a bunch of green beans and cook until the pasta is al dente. Drain and season with the pesto sauce.

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