pesto and more

last night, I had the pleasure and honor to be surrounded by some AMXSing people; no, this is not a typo… the spouses of  RAF Lakenheath’s 48th AMXS are amazing. countless hours are given to others in need, children’s parties are planned and executed without a hitch, meals prepared for the sick, and a most faithful friend when you need one ~ these are the spouses of the 48th AMXS ~ they are this, and so much more… I gave a little back last night, teaching a pasta and sauce class ~ what a great time being around these amazing ladies and gentleman.

Almost everyone is familiar with Pesto alla Genovese, the green garlic-and-basil sauce that’s one of the symbols of Ligurian cuisine. The verb pestare means “to stomp on,” or to crush, and therefore the word pesto describes a process more than a product. Indeed, pesto alla genovese is made by grinding the ingredients in a mortar. So is Pesto alla Siciliana, which is made with tomatoes rather than basil.


handful of basil

handful of flat-leaf parsley

4 cloves garlic

4-6 T olive oil

1/2 – 1 c grated parmigiano regiano

1/4 -1/2 c grated pecorino

1/2 c pinenuts

dash crushed red pepper flakes

salt and pepper to taste

blend all ingredients except olive oil ~ drizzle olive oil and continue blending on low until well mixed; combine 1/3 cup pesto with 1/4 cup pasta water; toss with hot pasta and serve with additional cheese.

easy tomato sauce

2 large or 4 small cans of good quality tomatoes

6 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 tsp dried basil, or 6 leaves fresh basil, torn by hand

2 T tomato paste

1 tsp crushed red pepper

1/2 c salted pasta water

3 T olive oil

heat large pan on medium high heat; add oil then garlic,lower heat to medium; saute for 2-4 minutes; add remaining ingredients, simmer for 20 minutes or longer.

aglio, olio e peperoncino (garlic, oil and hot pepper sauce)

heat oil, garlic and either crushed red pepper or fresh hot pepper, thinly sliced; saute over medium-low heat until pasta is cooked; add 1/4 cup of salted water to pan, toss with pasta; serve with grana padano cheese or pecorino romano.


2 c flour

1/2 T salt

2 eggs

2 T olive oil

make a heaping pile of flour; create a well large enough for 2 eggs. with a fork, start by blending the egg yolk and egg whites; add salt, slowly start incorporating flour a little at a time (you may have excess flour ~ keep it for dusting your sheets of pasta when rolling out dough). when a soft dough forms, gently knead until no longer sticky; let rest.

cut dough into thirds; with pasta roller (or strong arms and a rolling pin), start on the widest setting, running through each setting twice; use a light dusting of flour in between each roll-out; cut free form shapes, or use tagliatelle or spaghetti setting; you can either cook the pasta now in salted water (remember, this is also used to help season your sauces), or lightly dust with flour, place in freezer bags and freeze for up to three months.

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