Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lifes too short not to buy the fancy pasta & the joys of nutella

Last night we felt like going back to Italy. I tried to recreate a meal I had in La Spezia and also made some brushetta to accompany it for dinner:

The pasta itself is the best part of this pasta dish! In the past I had always skipped over all the fancy shapes (and colors) of pasta at our local Italian Market and went for the cheap kind. That's what pasta is supposed to be right? Cheap. When I say cheap I mean maybe $1.75 compared to the $4.00 for the fancy stuff.  Well I splurged this time and I think you should too.  I can't remember what the name of this particular pasta is but I had it once in Italy. It came to the table and was bright green with pesto, green beans and little chunks of potatoes. I skipped the potatoes in my creation and didn't add near enough pesto I guess as it was no where near as bright! Also I threw in some Parmesan cheese... I'm sure it was in the original as well.  It was pretty good but was even better today eaten cold as a pasta salad.

For the bruschetta, I tried to stick with the classic recipe. I mixed tomatoes, a little olive oil and basil together in a bowl. As I did this, some plain slices of long bread were under the broiler. When they looked toasty I took them out rubbed a garlic clove, cut in half, all along the top of them. Tomato mixture was spooned on top of this along with a little salt and pepper. Delicious! I had my doubts about the garlic rubbing part as I didn't think the flavor would rub off. It did indeed and this was a really great side dish for our pasta.

In other news - I went to Europe not even liking chocolate and came home loving Nutella. How does that work? It's EVERYWHERE in Europe... you can get containers bigger than an ice-cream pail full of Nutella. I finally understand the wonder that is Nutella. Our container is currently hidden in the kitchen somewhere....


  1. If you like Nutella, you've got to give this stuff a try one day - it's amazing! It's dairy free, so entirely the hazelnuts giving it the rich smoothness. Kerstin sometimes brings it in... I hope more will be coming soon!

    I agree, spending the extra couple dollars on some quality pasta makes such a huge difference.

  2. Do you not have Nutella in non-europe? I have never thought of a world without nutella...grim.

    I like to make fresh pasta occassionally. i used to think it was so complicated until i actually made some.

  3. Surprising what a difference quality pasta makes. Now that you are back from Europe were there any dishes that you wish that you had tried or did you try all of the things you wanted ?

  4. Gemma - We do have Nutella here but it's not used half as much as it is in Europe! It's more of a novelty item here. Until I tried it in crepes and on toast in the mornings I never realized how fantastic it was.

    Habanerogal - We really tried everything we planned on! Although we didn't plan very much for outings and sight seeing we DID plan what we wanted to eat in every country well before we left.

    I would say the one thing I would have to try if I went back would be coffee in Italy. Neither one of us drinks coffee at all here but everyone seemed to be shocked I didn't try it in Italy! I guess it's pretty different? Maybe just higher quality. Either way, I'd give it a shot if I ever went back.