Thanks to Disney, I’m discovering the joys of Italian cooking with my family.
I recently wrote that T loves the movie Luca, a wonderful animated coming of age story about accepting what makes you unique.
The film is also a love story to Italian culture, from its beautiful seaside town setting to the delicious cuisine enjoyed by the characters.
One memorable scene is when the characters enjoy a traditional Northern Italy dish called trenette el pesto (pictured at top).
I enjoy Italian food but it’s not something I often make. Carbs are also counter productive towards my current “I want abs, dammit!” mission.
I recently discovered Instagram videos by The Pasta Queen. She is over the top but in a tongue-in-cheek way and her recipes are amazingly beginner friendly.
I came across her pesto pasta recipe and noted that it looks like the dish from Luca.
I thought about how much T loves Luca and what a picky eater he is. So I had to try making this, in the hopes of adding a new dish to his limited rotation.
BuzzFeed recently made the Luca recipe as provided by Disney’s marketing team.
I stuck with the Pasta Queen recipe, which has almost all of the ingredients for trenette el pesto: fresh basil leaves, garlic cloves, pine nuts, pecorino Romano, parmegano reggiano and extra virgin olive oil.
The Disney recipe also includes green beans and potato. But whatever.
Just seeing the lovely ingredients together was so soothing to my soul. Cooking truly brings me comfort these days.
What was great about this dish is how easy it was to make. I guesstimated portions for each ingredient and tossed them in the food processor.
And voila! I made pesto. I never realized how easy it was!
The hubby teased me, as he always does, after I threw around, with extra enunciation, the fancy-sounding names of the ingredients.
“You know parmegano reggiano is just Parmesan cheese, right,” he said.
I gave him a silent glaring look that said, “Get out of my kitchen.”
I then placed the pesto atop freshly-boiled linguini. Then I applied an Italian cooking technique I recently learned.
Instead of throwing out the pasta water – from the pot the linguini cooked in – I kept a cup and poured it over the pesto and linguini.
The pasta water, pictured below, helped bind the pesto to the linguini. Who knew!?
And voila, here is the pretentiously-plated pesto pasta!
T was excited as I was making it, popping by every now and then to check on my progress.
When I presented him the final plate, he looked at it, smelled it and promptly said, “Yuck!”
Oh well, we tried! In all honesty, I was glad there was more for the hubby and I to enjoy!
This experience has unlocked a new interest in exploring traditional Italian cooking.
Like I do with everything else, I had used triple the amount of garlic required. And boy, did we feel it after!
As I was lying with T at bedtime, we snuggled closely as always. After I spoke, T told me in his usual frank way, “You need to brush your teeth, Papa. Your breath stinks!”
As they would say in Italy: That’s Amore!