Like most of us these days, I am unable to travel, so I have been looking back at photos from previous trips and enjoying the pleasant memories they bring back. A few years ago we visited Italy, we stayed at an agriturismo near San Gimignano, and then spent a few days in Florence. What little we saw of Italy was beautiful and we hope to go back someday.
The photo above is the view of the Duomo in Florence from our hotel room.
We also visited Genoa, and while we were there my husband had a pasta dish made from ground walnuts and cream; oh my, it was absolutely delicious! We had it on several other occasions during our time in Italy. When we got home, I tried to replicate it, but was unable to come close. However, I recently found a recipe on line for the sauce which is just as good as what we had in Italy. This is a Jerry Traunfeld recipe, but I have made quite a few alterations. This makes two generous servings.
1 cup cilantro leaves
1 cup basil leaves
3/4 cup walnuts
1/2 cup olive oil + a little more
2 cloves garlic
3/4 of a pound orecchiette pasta (reserve the cooking liquid)
3 chopped and seeded Roma tomatoes
Place the herbs, walnuts and garlic in a food processor and pulse into a rough paste, gradually add the olive oil, a pinch of salt and process into a smooth paste. The mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for several days.
Cook the pasta according to the package directions (be sure to salt the water). Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add the tomatoes and cook until soft. Add a few tablespoons of pasta water and a few tablespoons of the walnut mixture and stir over low heat until incorporated. Continue adding the walnut paste until you have a thick sauce, add more pasta water if it is too thick. Stir in the cooked pasta, adjust the seasoning and serve immediately.
The recipe as written above is a vegan recipe. Grated parmesan makes a nice addition.
Please let me know if you try the recipe! Buon appetito!