For several months now, I’m following this wonderful blog full of delicious recipes from around the world. Bobbi Marshall recreates all these dishes in her own kitchen and lets us have a look via her blog BAM’s Kitchen . And of course just like me all fellow followers are so grateful to her! Born in the USA she’s currently living in Asia and loves to travel around the world. All her culinary experiences come back in BAM’s Kitchen and that’s what makes her blog unique. Not so long ago she has visited Italy as well and before her trip we got in touch. She wanted some tips on restaurants or dishes in the extremely romantic Cinque Terre (Liguria). Even though I’ve been there in the past, I couldn’t remember a good restaurant. But, of course I recommended to try the famous local dish “Trofie al pesto”. And so she did! I’m very honored that Bobbi wants to share her experience, photos and recipe of this mouth-watering dish and this extraordinary part of Italy on my blog. Grazie mille Bobbi!!
To see the post on her blog you can click here. Use this time to discover her blog and all the amazing recipes she’s sharing with all of us. You’ll love it!
Hello my name is Bobbi from http://bamskitchen.com/. I am so pleased to be able to meet some new faces out there and say hello again to some very dear fellow bloggers. Letizia has asked me to do my first guest post and I am very honored and thankful. If it was not for Letizia’s help, I would never have been able to share with you my delightful experiences that are in this post. I think the world is a very small place and is getting smaller each and every day. I do not mean in the physical sense that the earth is shrinking but it is through our acquaintances and experiences that brings us, and the poles of the earth, closer together. 20 Years ago the world seemed like a vast place and little did I know much outside my little home and neighborhood. However, after living abroad, traveling abroad and sharing in a unique international world of very special foodie and travel bloggers the world is a very small and cozy place.
I met a delightful fellow travel and foodie writer, Letizia, that hosts a delightful website. Letizia Argiolu was born and raised in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) but she is now living in Borgomanero (Italy). Letizia spends most of her spare time traveling and experiencing Italy to the fullest and lucky for us she documents all of her unique findings and experiences on her website. Prior to my travels to Italy, I touched based with Letizia to find out some must stop destinations and culinary delights that I should try along the way.
My travels took me to Italy and to the beautiful destination of Cinque Terre, which is located on a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy just to the west of the city of La Spezia.
The word Cinque Terre means the five lands. “The Five Lands” is composed of five villages: Monterosso al Mare,Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park. Cinque Terre is stunning and is a must do if you happen to visit this region.
Cinque Terre area has stunningly views and is very relaxing. Cinque Terre is a series of villages clinging to a remote stretch of the Riviera coastline. Each of these little towns has many pastel homes embedded into the sea wall overlooking the ocean. The rugged villages of the Cinque Terre, founded by Dark Age locals hiding out from pirates, were long cut off from the modern world. However, today the villages are linked together by a train, a ferry, and many hiking trails.
To preserve the character of the towns and the area’s natural beauty, the government declared the Cinque Terre a national park a few years ago. Visitors pay a small entrance fee, to help maintain the trails between the villages. In addition, there are no cars allowed in the villages so it transportation by train or foot. We stayed in a sweet little town of Levanto just west of Cinque Terre. We took the train and started our 20-minute journey down to the end of the line to see the little town of Riomaggiore. Fresh sea breezes, blue skies, gorgeous houses, sunsets, and they serve great Aperol Spritzes just along the sea. I was in heaven. We had wanted to do the little hike from Riomaggiore, the Via dell’ Amore (walkway of love) leads to Manarola. However due to erosion and land slides this area was cut off from visitors. So instead we just took in the beauty of the moment and watched the sunset and enjoyed our Aperol Spritzes. We would have loved to stop at each of the 5 cities in Cinque Terre but we ran out of daylight and the next morning we had torrential rains. However, our stay in Cinque Terre was so very memorable and it will give us a reason to come back again soon.
Cinque Terre is a beautiful region but the food in the Liguiria region is outstanding. There is one dish that Letizia suggested that I must try while I was there and that was the famous “Trofie al Pesto”. I have recreated Trofie al Pesto in Bam’s Kitchen and it is just gorgeous and I have placed the recipe below just for your convenience.
LIGURIAN TROFIE AL PESTO
Serves 4 adults as a ‘primo’ (starter) or 1 hungry teenager
Adapted from http://helenskitchen.com and helpful hints from the beautiful people in the city of Levanto, Italy.
Homemade Trofie Pasta
- 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp table salt
- 1 cup cold water
Step 1: Make the Dough: In a large bowl mix flour with the salt.
Step 2: Make well and add the water in the well and mix slowly with a fork.
Step 3: When the dough mixture is pulled together start mixing the dough with your hands until well incorporated. Check the dough for consistency as it should feel slightly tacky but your finger should come back clean when you push it in the dough. Add more flour if too wet and if too dry start to knead dough and see if the natural moisture from your hands will convert the dough and if not can add a little drop of water.
Step 4: Place a little dusting of flour on your wooden board and knead the dough for at least 8-10 minutes or until the dough is very smooth. Nice and easy kneading and turn your dough with each press. This is a very important step in the process to activate the gluten in the dough and give your pasta that very delicious texture.
Step 5: Form your dough into a disk shape and dust flour on top and bottom of dough and wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least one hour or even overnight.
Step 6: Form the Trofie Pasta: Sprinkle your work surface and your plates that you will be placing your formed Trofie pasta on with lots of flour. Cut a ½ inch rope section from the dough and roll the dough into a rope about 1/4 inch size in width with your hands – kind of like what you used to do as a kid with play dough. (Make sure that your covers the remaining dough back up with plastic wrap so it does not dry out.)
Step 7: Now cut the rope horizontally into little sections about 1/4 inch in size or even smaller if you can.
Step 8: Take one piece of cut dough into the palm of your hand and roll in one direction from bottom of palm up to the top of your fingers. Now you should have created this adorable little crescent pasta shape. Repeat this process until you have made enough Trofie pasta to feed enough for your family/friends. Place your completed little Trofie crescents shapes on the well-floured plates. (I would highly suggest you recruit your family, kids and friends in this event so you can eat sooner) It is a bit time intensive but very easy to do. Share a glass or two of fantastic Ligurian wines while you play with the dough and it goes even quicker…
Step 9: Now on to the finishing touches…
Homemade Ligurian Pesto and Finishing touches
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (I toasted mine first)
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 4 Tbsp butter (yes! butter in the Pesto that is the Ligurian way and their special secret for deliciousness)
- Salt to taste
- 1/2 ladle of pasta water
- Extra butter for frying up and the finishing touches to the Ligurian Trofie al Pesto (I did not say this dish was low calorie but it is amazingly delicious)
- Garnish with extra parmesan and fresh sprigs of basil
Step 1: Making the Pesto: Place basil, pine nuts, garlic, Parmesan cheese in blender or food processor and blend. Slowly add the oil in and continue to blend.
Step 2: Add the butter a little at a time to the food processor and keep blending until creamy and smooth. Season with salt as required.
Step 3: Cooking the Trofie pasta: In a large pot bring at least 4 quarts of water to boil. Salt well as this gives flavor to the pasta.
Step 4: Once the water is at full boil, slowly add about 1/4 -1/2 of the homemade pasta at a time to the water. Depending how large you rolled your pasta it will take between 1-3 minutes to cook your pasta until a firm al dente. Your pasta will float up to the top and you will know that is nearly cooked. Just simply test pasta to confirm if al dente.
Step 5: Remove and drain pasta from water and set aside. Repeat with second batch of pasta. (I did it in separate batches as it is easier to manage this way and it does not drop the temperature of your water so much doing small batches at a time.)
Step 6: In a large frying pan, place a large knob of butter and add your cooked Trofie pasta. Next add about 1/2 to 3/4 of your delicious Ligurian Pesto, 1/2 ladle of your pasta water and delicately stir until well incorporated. Place your delicious Trofie al Pesto in bowls and garnish with a grating of fresh Parmesan Reggiano and a sprig of fresh basil.