So, a pistou is French pesto without the pine nuts. I didn’t know that. Frankly, I know nothing about French food. Check that…I don’t know much about France. I took two years of French in high school because it was either that or shop classes. After four years of Spanish (two in middle school, two in high school), I thought I would switch things up. In my junior year, I took an accelerated French class that put the first two years into one. This meant that during my senior year, I had to sit for the French Regents exam with a bunch of sophomores. By the time this test rolled around, I was so checked out of high school that I might have written the same answer for every multiple choice question. I distinctly remember finishing the test in about 45 minutes and having my French teacher wake me up because I was snoring. I got an 85.
I worked my ass off I showed inconsistent effort as a sophomore to get a B+/A- in my Spanish class, but sleepwalked to a B in French. But, don’t worry, I can ask you if you would like butter (Voulez vous le beurre?).
Anyhow, Kerry Saretsky writes a wonderful blog called French Revolution Food. She’s a recipe developer and food writer for a number of different outlets including Serious Eats and The Huffington Post. Her pistou recipe is not unlike my sundried tomato pesto recipe. By cutting out the pine nuts, you open up the flavors of the tomatoes and herbs and take the emphasis off the oils from the nuts. In my preparation, I cut back on the olive oil and basil to let the tomato standout. The results were quite good.
WHAT DIDN’T: Pasta packaging. It’s rare that you will find a full-pound package of tagliatelle. Wegmans’ 9 oz. package was around $3. Anyhow, the package is plenty for this sauce recipe.
WHAT DID THE WIFE SAY: “That was really good. It was French?” That’s four years of high school French plus two semester in college. I think foreign language classes spoil you on the rest of the culture. I liked my French teacher, but was totally bored with the class. I blame this directly for my coming late to French food.
WILL IT MAKE ANOTHER APPEARANCE: Maybe. I think what’s more likely to happen is my trying more of Kerry’s recipes for this blog.
Tagliatelle with Provençal Red Pistou
Adapted from Kerry Saretsky’s French Revolution blog
- 1 clove garlic
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
- 3 tbsp. of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 8 to 9 oz. tagliatelle
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add a generous amount of salt and cook pasta according the directions on the package. Reserving a cup of pasta water before draining.
Add the garlic to a food processor or blender and quickly pulse until it has been chopped and sprayed against the walls of the chopper. Scrape the garlic back to the bottom of the bowl, add the tomatoes, cheese and a swirl of olive oil. Puree until it takes on a pesto appearance, using additional olive oil if it appears to dry.
Transfer the pistou to a serving bowl and, using a pasta fork, mix in a little bit of pasta water. Add the pasta and toss, using additional pasta water to thin out the pistou. Serve immediately.