Pasta with Trapanese pesto

This is a recipe typically from Sicily, I wanted to try it when we visited but never had the chance. It is a simple and delicious pesto bursting with flavor from the sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and toasted almonds. We served it with short pasta but it would go well also with spaghetti.

Trapanese Pesto

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup sundried tomatoes in oil

400 grams of tinned chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup of blanched almonds

1/3 cup fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup olive oil

red pepper flakes to taste

salt to taste

pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan

Heat oven to 170C/350F and toast almonds for 8 minutes, they should be just beginning to brown. Boil water and cook pasta until “al dente” as indicated on the package. Once toased, add almonds, garlic, sundried tomatoes, tinned tomatoes, basil, olive oil and red pepper in a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is creamy and there no chunks of almonds or tomatoes.

Once pasta is ready, mix with hot pasta and served topped with freshly grated Parmesan.

Lemony Lentil Soup

We have been hit by a cold spell here in Naples and I was craving something warm and nourishing. I’ve been trying to clean out fridge and pantry this week, which is why we’ve put a hold on our around the world recipes for this week, so I wanted to use what we already have at home. We have many citrus trees around our house and I am always looking for creative ways to use the citrus fruit abundance we have in this period.

This soup is simple to make with ingredients you probably have in your pantry, it requires around 30-35 minutes cooking time for the lentils but besides that is very easy to make. The lemon adds a special extra touch to make this soup a little different than typical lentil soup.

Ingredients

50 g or 3-4 tablespoons of Olive Oil

1 large carrot

1/2 of a medium sized onion

2 cloves of minced garlic

1 cup of brown lentils

1/3 cup of brown rice

1 lemon

32oz/900 grams of vegetable broth

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

2 bay leaves

1 Teaspoon of dry oregano

Fresh parsley

Start by heating olive oil over medium heat in a large soup pan. Add chopped onions and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add carrots, cook for another 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add garlic and cook until fragrant (around one minute). Add lentils and rice, stir to mix with vegetables, add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Add bay leaves, oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

Cook covered for 25-35 minutes, checking to see if the lentils and rice are cooked. Halfway through cooking, add lemon juice of half of the lemon and taste. Add more lemon if you would like more of a lemon flavor (we liked it with juice of the whole lemon). At the end of cooking, chop around 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley, add it the soup and stir to mix. Serve hot with a drizzle of fresh olive oil.

It is also great topped with bread crumbs! We made ours from day old bread drizzled with olive oil, some salt and garlic and cooked in the air fryer at 180 C for 7 minutes.

Simple Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

Simple Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

This is a sauce for pasta we make often in the fall and winter months. We usually have an abundance of pumpkins from my in-law’s garden.

Ingredients

600g of Fresh Pumpkin or Butternut Squash

50g of Olive Oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

30 g of walnuts, chopped

Dash of nutmeg

Salt to taste

Red chili peppers flakes to taste

Parmesan Cheese

Short pasta (we used whole wheat fusili)

Cut the pumpkin or squash into cubes around 1 cm. Heat olive oil in a pan, when warm, add pumpkin and garlic. Season with salt. Stir and cover with a lid for 20-25 minutes until pumpkin is soft. Meanwhile, boil salted water and cook pasta according to the package. Crush or chop the walnuts and toast over low heat in a small pan until fragrant. When the pumpkin is ready, take an immersion blender and blend the pumpkin until smooth and creamy (there should be some water in the pan from the cooked pumpkin). Add cooked pasta to the pumpkin cream, mix to cover all the pasta until the pasta has taken on the color of the sauce.

Serve topped with crushed walnuts, top with Parmesan and red pepper flakes to taste.

A Dish a Day, 195 countries

We started on this crazy journey to try a dish from EVERY country in the world, 6 weeks ago. Cooking is something Umberto and I both love but we had fallen into a rut of cooking things we knew and dishes that were quick and simple. That all changed one evening when I had some eggplant to use up and needed a change from our usual so I did a search for “Russian” eggplant recipes and quickly found a recipe for “spicy Russian eggplant”. We were so impressed by the way the eggplant turned out, we decided to try a dish from every country around the world.

6 weeks in, we’ve tried recipes from 21 countries. Our favorite has been Thailand and Indonesia. Some recipes have been fails (Canada!). The recipes have to follow some guidelines:

1. Nothing too complicated or too many steps, the most complicated recipe is saved for Sunday evening.

2. Ingredients must be available here (Naples, Italy)

3. Seafood is usually a no (but we have run into some exceptions, Iceland for example).

Welcome to our journey through the world through cooking!

Vietnamese Beef Pho
Columbian Arroz con Pollo
Mauritian Stir Fried Pickled Cabbage & Carrots