September 8th, 2011
This giveaway is CLOSED! Congrats to Ana and Frank Marino, and thank you to all for sharing your favorite Italian dishes and places in Italy. You’ve all inspired me—now you’ll have to deal with the onslaught of Italian food posts for weeks to come!
Now keep reading for the Almond Arugula recipe!
Last night I had the pleasure of attending a class on light Italian cooking at one of my favorite NYC spots, Eataly, with Barilla Executive Chef Lorenzo Boni. Simply Healthy Italian Pasta was one of many wonderful NYC experiences celebrating Italian culture during the Barilla Summer of Italy.
Summer of Italy culminates on September 13-16 with the first U.S. Casa Barilla, a four-day event in New York’s Central Park featuring cooking classes, food and culture workshops and children’s activities. Once you cover the $5 admission, everything inside is free! (All of the proceeds benefit the Food Bank for New York City; each $5 provides 25 free meals to NY’ers in need.) Then there’s the main event: Andrea Bocelli live in Central Park on Thursday 9/15, for which I’m giving away two pairs of vouchers for free entry to the concert and VIP area!
Having just experienced the level of quality, authenticity and deliciousness of a Barilla cooking class, I am more excited than ever for Casa Barilla. I mean, just look at last night’s menu:
I walked out of class wanting more and, luckily for me, I’ll get it next week at Casa Barilla. I’ve signed up to for a workshop on the Art of Olive Oil and another one honoring the spaghettata, an impromptu, spaghetti-based meal, during which Chef Scott Conant will talk about stocking the pantry for the perfect casual, celebratory Italian meal. (Yes, celebrity chef lovers, star chefs will be leading many of the classes and workshops!)
Of all the things I signed up for, I’m most excited for the Piccolini Playground area of Casa Barilla set up for the little ones. The Hungry Boy and I are going to attend a kids class on pasta making. Remember how much fun he had making gnocchi?!
All of the classes and workshops at Casa Barilla are free and open to the public! Anyone interested can register on the Barilla site. As for the Andrea Bocelli concert, well, that’s sold out. But…
I’ve got TWO pairs of vouchers** for TWO lucky readers, each to attend with a guest as VIP’s!!
A winner will be selected at random at noon this Sunday 9/11. To enter:
1. Leave a comment with your favorite Italian pasta dish.
2. You can enter a second (optional) time by LIKING One Hungry Mama on Facebook and sharing where in Italy you’d most like to visit.
Chef Boni, originally from Bologna, has cooked in restaurants in both the U.S. and Italy. He and his team, who help set the gold standard of taste for Barilla products, are ambassadors of authentic Italian cuisine hoping to inspire an understanding of and passion for authentic Italian cooking in home cooks around the world.
In class, Chef Boni talked about always using fresh ingredients when in season, the misconception that traditional Italian cooking has to be heavy on the garlic (he likes to keep garlic to a minimum allowing all of the flavor components of a dish to shine), cooking from the heart and, most important of all, knowing when technique is important. And when is that? When cooking pasta of course! That’s right, folks: there’s a right way to cook pasta and he showed us how. (I’ll fill you in soon!)
My favorite dish of the night was this almond-arugula pesto. So light and delicious—a perfect way to end the summer.
Bucatini with Oven-Dried Tomatoes and Arugula-Almond Pesto
recipe courtesy of Barilla
(can be shared with kids 10+ mos)*
1 pint yellow grape tomatoes
1 pint red grape tomatoes
1 package Barilla Bucatini
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted, plus more for garnish
2 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano cheese
2 packed cups fresh arugula
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup olive oil (we used Academia Barilla Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
Salt, to taste
Black pepper, to taste
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Cut the yellow and red tomatoes in half. Gently squeeze each tomato half to drain the juice and seeds. Lay tomatoes in a single layer on parchment lined baking sheets and allow to dry out in the oven for 2 hours. (You can skip the tomatoes for a quick weeknight meal or make them ahead. They will stay good covered in olive oil in an airtight container stored in the fridge for up to a month!)
2. Cook pasta according to directions. Drain, saving some of the cooking water, but do not rinse the pasta.
3. Add almonds and cheese to a food process or blender. Process at very slow speed until combined. Add arugula and garlic, then olive oil, salt and pepper. Process the mixture slowly the entire time to ensure that the blade doesn’t heat up too much (which would “cook” the greens and cheese proteins, changing the flavor) and also that they mixture doesn’t become overly smooth.
4. Add pasta and pesto to a large bowl and toss to coat well. Don’t be afraid to add a ladle or two of cooking water, if necessary to create a creamy texture. You can also add oil and cheese to taste. Toss in oven dried tomatoes, if using and toss one more time. Serve garnished with toasted sliced almonds.
*Note: The most recent guidelines released by the American Academy of Pediatrics indicates no proven benefit in delaying solids, even high allergen foods including nuts, beyond 4- to 6-months. This doesn’t mean that your child won’t necessarily have an allergic reaction, but it does at means that it is safe and responsible to consider introducing high allergen foods as early as 6 months, especially if your child has no personal or family history of food allergies. Speak to your pediatrician about what’s best for your family.
**I’m giving away vouchers that are good in exchange for free tickets to the concert and VIP section (where Barilla will be catering fresh food made on the premises for concert goers). Once you receive your vouchers, you’ll have to stop by Casa Barilla on Sept 13th or by noon on the 14th to make the switch. I’ll provide full details directly to the winners. Good luck!
This post has been sponsored by the good folks at Barilla, with whom I have entered a paid partnership. They have hired me to help raise awareness of the special events happening in NYC as part of their Summer of Italy. I’m attending events personally so that I can share my experiences with you and all opinions are strictly my own. Read more about One Hungry Mama and sponsorships here.