We often stock up on vegetables at a local farmstand run by a boisterous team of sisters in the nearby town of Fiumicino. It’s a typical weekend pilgrimage for us that in the pandemic we often combine with a lunch outing. Our restaurants are still closed for dinner in Italy so we are learning to adapt our outside of the house adventures to pandemic cautious mid-day meals.
In Italy, it’s also common for a vegetable shop to toss some free celery, carrots, and herbs into your shopping bag at the register. They call it odori in Italian, which literally means smells. As a former New Yorker who bought my pricey herbs in minute proportions, this seems like a miracle.
Last Saturday, the sisters tossed a big bunch of free basil that reeked of summer into our veggie stuffed bags.
I wasn’t in the mood for pounding out the pesto in a mortar and pestle this weekend but the basil needed to be eaten so I made a super quick and easy pasta by mincing the basil along with some garlic and tossing it in a skillet with some olive oil.
Think of it as pesto light.
Or dinner for the cost of pasta. The basil was free after all.
Or a meal you can make in as much time as it takes to boil a pot of water and cook your pasta. I used fresh gnocchi which cooked in about 1 minute.
Pasta with basil
- 1 bunch of basil, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and black pepper
- Olive oil
- 250 grams pasta – I used fresh gnocchi
- Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
- Meanwhile, cook the garlic and basil in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over low heat until the garlic is golden.
- Season with salt and black pepper.
- Cook the pasta.
- Drain the pasta and add to the skillet with the basil and garlic and toss.
- Add some cheese and toss.
- Cook over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds while tossing.
- Plate, top with more cheese and serve.