Sunday. A steamy, sleepy afternoon, the kind I dream about all winter. The sun is beating down, window shades are partially drawn, and sheers are dancing with the breeze. Our street is utterly quiet.
This weekend is our church's biennial Greek Festival and last night's band, Orfeas, was exceptional. I danced until the wee hours, fell into bed and, today, moving in slow motion. Accomplishments so far: made the bed, watered the garden, tinkered with this post and ate a frozen brownie. My apologies for the fuzzy photos; I'm out of practice and obviously - desperately - need David's help in getting back up to speed. Think of them as taken in the sfumato style.
It seems perfect timing to share with you a recipe for tomato pesto. Pesto Trapanese, to be exact, from Lidia's Italy - a much loved, much used cookbook complete with pages falling out. This is a cinch to make - drop the ingredients into a food processor, whirl, toss with hot pasta. Eat.
Anna's Spaghetti and Pesto Trapanese
SPAGHETTI AL PESTO TRAPANESE ALLA ANNA
from Lidia's Italy
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes, very ripe and sweet
12 large fresh basil leaves
1 plump garlic clove, crushed and peeled
1/3 cup whole almonds, lightly toasted
1/4 teaspoon peperoncino flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, or to taste
(plus more for cooking the pasta)
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 pound spaghetti
1/2 cup freshly grated Grana Padano or Parmigiano-Reggiano
Rinse the cherry tomatoes and pat them dry. Rinse the basil leaves and pat dry.
Drop the tomatoes, into a blender jar or food processor bowl, followed by the garlic clove, almonds, basil leaves, peperoncino, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Blend for a minute or more to a fine puree; scrape down the bowl, and blend again if any large bits or pieces have survived.
With the machine still running, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream, emulsifying the puree into a thick pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning. (If you're going to dress the pasta within a couple of hours, leave the pesto at room temperature. Refrigerate for longer storage, up to 2 days, but let it return to room temperature before cooking the pasta.)
Scrape all the pesto into a big warm bowl. Cook the spaghetti al dente, lift it from the cooking pot, drain briefly and drop onto the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the spaghetti, sprinkle the cheese all over and toss again. Serve immediately in warm bowls.
Serves 4 to 6