This week 34 years ago, himself and myself took off to Italy to get married...like 2 little lambs to the slaughter, barely old enough to be legal!!! The only other places either of us had traveled to were the usual European holiday spots; this was to be the first bit of culture that we were to experience.
What a fantastic experience - the buildings, the history, the people. THE FOOD!!! Dear God, how could this amazing food exist without us having a clue about it?
Authentic Italian dishes were such an eye-opener...so completely different from the frozen pizzas and horrid packet sauces that were on offer way back then in Ireland. The first bowl of fresh handmade pasta with a garlic cream sauce that was put in front of me, I will never forget. The pizzas...ended up eating those even for breakfast, simply could not get enough of them. Real tiramisu? himself had never been happier. Then the owner of this gorgeous little restaurant opened up the fridge and gifted us a glass of well-chilled Limoncello...'that's it', said I, 'I am never leaving this country'.
Alas, we left but we brought the memories of that amazing country and its food with us. I am always on the look-out for easy pasta recipes and this is one that I cook for special family gatherings when I lure the clan over with the promise of dinner. It's also what I serve himself to make sure he stays with me another few years...he just adores basil cream with pasta.
You really can't beat fresh pasta whether you make it yourself of buy it and it is actually quicker to cook than dried pasta. Dried will do fine though if that's all there is to hand. This basil cream would make anything taste great! Obviously if you are coeliac, then you use some of the great gluten-free pasta available these days. If you have left over chicken, happy days...use that. As my daughter's little Italian friend said when she dropped a sweet on the floor, quickly picked it up and popped it into her mouth, 'we Italians waste nothing'.
This handy family dinner can also be easily made for vegetarians by replacing the chicken with tofu, more vegetable and adding some nuts and seeds.
Serve this delicious pasta recipe with a side salad, crispy bread and of course a chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio and let it bring your imagination to that lovely little family restaurant in Italy.