Nana’s Homemade Pesto Pasta
Almost every Sunday dinner includes a yummy bag of leftovers to have for Monday lunch. But not tonite's.
Sunday night means dinner at the Salussolia's, or as my daughter Lucy affectionately refers to them, Nana and Grandad. We never know what we will be eating until we arrive, but we always know it will be delicious. Mom and Dad prepare cheese, crackers, and Prosecco to welcome us. Lucy gets her own hot pink sippy cup for ice-cold water to join in the cheers.
There is nothing quite like marrying into an Italian family - especially with a romantic-sounding last name that drips with oregano. Salussolia, sal-ooo-so-lee-uh. I believe the Italian roughly translates to "greetings from the sun" or "thankful for the sun." Either way, the sounds bring to mind sunrise on a vineyard coupled with cheersing a glass filled with vino.
Zero Pasta Left Behind
Sunday dinner staples often include bread, salad, wine, and a terrifying parmesan cheese contraption. The entree varies but never disappoints. This evening we had something new, pasta with homemade basil pesto. We all devoured the fresh, flavorful pinenut-forward ingredients and there was zero pasta left behind.
In 1940, Cook was the top reported job for people in the USA named Salussolia. 100% of Salussolia men worked as Cook. -ancestry.com
Here's how dinner went down. Chef Dad prepared the pasta. The noodles were cooked just a tad past al dente, which was the perfect texture for painting the pasta with a pesto flourish.
Chef Mom was on pesto duty. This task required a trip to Home Depot and two rounds of re-potting. (Her friend Kim gave her a few tips on basil maintenance). Mom harvested the leaves from her patio basil plant. Her next-door neighbor, Sharon, grows tomatoes and supplied mom with these vibrant tomatoes. It was a very locally-sourced type of meal.
The cherry tomatoes held their own, with no need for a marinara monopoly. Instead, they had a dalliance with parmesan as they decorated the pesto pasta.
The Key to Italian Cooking
The pesto made this pasta unstoppable. You could taste pine nuts, garlic and oh-so-fresh basil. My friend Kakie told me the secret to Italian cooking was olive oil, so much olive oil. Olive oil was the perfect base to keep the pesto sauce together. It was perfection. One of my roommates, Janel, her Italian mom said pesto was the key to the best spaghetti. This meal certainly affirmed that statement.
I asked mom if she used a Stanley Tucci recipe. She told me she found this Easy Pesto Pasta Recipe online.
Laura's Easy Pesto Pasta Recipe
▢ 2 cups basil
▢ ½ cup parmesan cheese
▢ ½ tsp salt
▢ 1/8 tsp pepper
▢ ¼ cup toasted pine nuts toasted
▢ 4-5 TBS olive oil
▢ 1 ½ TBS minced garlic
Pesto Recipe Instructions
Heat pine nuts in a small sauté pan over medium heat, stir once you notice them starting to brown. Once they start to brown the process happens fast so watch carefully and remove from heat once all nuts are roasted (about 5 minutes), and let them cool. Put olive oil and basil leaves into the blender. Blend for about 60 seconds until the ingredients are combined but not totally smooth. Add ¼ cup pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and blend). [Edited]
The original recipe by Laura can be found at https://joyfoodsunshine.com/pesto-pasta-recipe/
Mom skipped the lemon juice from the original recipe. She also didn't use whole pine nuts as a garnish. As far as I know she followed the rest of the recipe, even storing the pesto in an air-tight mason jar. I don't know if she toasted the pine nuts, but I will have to find out once I glean enough leaves from my own rather sad patio basil plant.
The Final Product
No, mom, I won't review every Sunday supper, but this one I simply couldn't resist. By the way, did you toast the pine nuts?