On my travels I am often so intrigued by the food culture, particularly special dishes of the region. In Australia we don't specifically have a distinct food culture, it's fairly multi cultural, a lot of restaurants fuse different cuisines or feature different ones, so I find at home I am often eating dishes from all around the world. That's why I get so facsinated by the food in other countries- while yes western food seems to infiltrate all countries, there is still evidently strong presence of traditional food in other countries.
On my recent trip to Italy we visited the Cinque Terre national park, which is a coastline of 5 small fishing villages in the North West Liguria region of Italy. This dish - Trofie al Pesto particularly stood out to me as it was served in every restaurant and I had not seen it anywhere else. Trofie is a spiral shaped pasta (looks like little twisties) served with traditional pesto (which originates from Genova) and potatoes - carb heaven!!! Often the pesto has parmasen cheese through it, however traditionally Genovese pesto doesn't have cheese in it.
I brought home with me a packet of this Trofie Verdi from Manarola (one of the five small fishing villages) as I wanted to try recreate this dish to share some of my travels with you at home!
1 large bunch of basil (~80g)
1 lemon (or 1/4 cup of juice)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional- this is my vegan cheese flavour replacement plus some brands are fortified with b12, great for vegans)
2 garlic cloves
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 packet of Trofie Verdi
5 small potatos
How to make:
- Add all of the pesto ingredients (except the baby spinach leaves) to a food processor and blend or pulse
- Add the baby spinach leaves and pulse the blender/processor
- Transfer pesto to a bowl and set aside
- Bring two pots of water to the boil
- Wash the potatoes then cut into chunky pieces (~3x3cm), add to one pot of water and boil until soft (or a fork glides into them), strain and set aside
- Add the Trofie to the other pot of boiling water, allow it to cook for approximately 10-15 minutes or until 'al dente' or soft (take a piece out regularly and taste to check)
- Strain pasta then transfer to a large salad bowl, add the potatoes and 1/2 of the pesto, mix the pesto through, add more pesto if it needs it otherwise reserve the rest of the pesto in the fridge, it should keep for 1-2 weeks
- Serve dish alongside a big fresh green salad or any other vegetables
Note: Trofie is unlikely to be available at your supermarket, try your local fine foods shop or have a look online, it really is a must try! the pesto will go great with any kind of pasta/ gnochii or if you are feeling super adventurous here is a recipe to create your own Trofie pasta
Hope you enjoy this slice of Italy as much as I loved recreating it and immersing myself back there momentarily...
Stay tuned for the second edition of my Greece travels coming soon
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