"I have the simplest tastes. I am simply satisfied with the best." - Oscar Wilde

"I came, I saw, I ate." - Au Gourmand

Monday, July 12, 2010

Fusili with Pesto; Green Salad with Sheep Milk Ricotta

Fusili with Pesto and Ricotta Salata

Pesto, a sauce made of ground basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil (extra virgin, what else?), is delicious not only on pasta, but meat, fish, eggs and sandwiches. If you go the the farmers market (the one I go to), you will pick up basil the size of a small tree, just enough to use some of the leaves and the rest for making pesto!


Fresh fusili (or any kind of fresh pasta - long or short; Fine, if you do not have fresh pasta, dry will do, too.)


  • Basil
  • Pine nuts (I ate them all, so I used Brazil nuts instead. Personally, I think any nuts with subtle flavor will do - i.e. Brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, etc. I do not use walnuts, although some cheap ones in the stores use them.)
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Olive oil

Ricotta Salata* (so delicious on its own that I have a hard time saving enough for grating), grated (or you can just cut them into small cubes if you are using short pasta)

*Usually, as you are well aware, parmeggiano reggiano is used. But since it is summer time, I like to use ricotta salata for the lighter, fresher taste. Either way, you cannot go wrong.


  1. Boil the pasta (Do I still need to mention that you need to add salt into the water? A lot of salt in fact?)
  2. Dump all the pesto ingredients into a food processor, except the olive oil. Drizzle into the paste as much olive oil as you want.*
  3. Grate the ricotta salata (stop eating it).
  4. Mix pasta and pesto all in the pasta-boiling pot (it not only keeps the pasta warm while you are tossing in the pesto, warming the pesto makes it easier to work with - one stone, two birds).
  5. Sprinkle (go heavy: Sprinkling sounds so, light-weight) the ricotta salata! Done!

*A trick for reducing the amount of oil: I know, I know, olive oil has all the health benefits. But if you eat as much as I do, I am not sure if the health benefits will counter-balance the calories at all (at least on my heavy conscience when I am on the scale). So, if you want to reduce the amount of olive oil (just go look up any other recipe online, they ask you to "pour" basically the entire bottle of olive oil right in!), use some fresh ricotta. And if you do not have fresh ricotta, well... (cottage cheese, some may say, but not in my kitchen).

Green Salad with Baby Fennel and Sheep Milk Ricotta

Fresh mixed greens - preferably with something sharp and bitter
Baby fennel (just being fancy; regular fennel is just fine - don't get fooled by the baby talk)
Sheep milk ricotta
Olive oil
Salt, pepper
Lemon juice

  1. Thinly slice the fennel and add it to the greens.
  2. Dress the greens with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
  3. Take a scoop of the sheep milk ricotta (and save some for dessert - just add jam or honey) and make a small hole in the middle. Sprinkle some salt and pepper (or herb) on the ricotta.
  4. Pour some olive oil into the hole, and you are done!

*Yes, I bought too much greens... But, too vegetables cannot hurt you!

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