Now that the days are long and (mostly) sunny, it’s a good time to do one of the best things ever: have a picnic!
Being in nature and enjoying lovely food and drinks together with good friends is just amazing…and it’s even better if everything is done in real Italian style.
Most of the better Italian food is produced from simple and fresh ingredients: bread, cheese, fresh vegetables. And everything tastes better when accompanied by a glass of good wine.
Today’s picnic suggestion is: pasta with pistachio pesto and cherry tomatoes, spinach frittatine, prosciutto e melone.
All of this is enjoyed along with tuscan pecorino, fresh peas or broad beans, and Chianti wine, according to the springtime Tuscan tradition.
Pasta with pistachio
INGREDIENTS for 4 servings
400 gr Pasta
40 gr Parmigiano cheese
150 gr unsalted pistachio nuts
100 gr extra vergin oil
freshly ground black pepper
1 clove of garlic (optional)
a sprig of parsley, use only the leaves
250 gr cherry tomatoes
Put the water to cook the pasta in a large pot. While waiting for the water to boil, make the pesto.
Put the pistachios, the parsley, parmigiano, garlic and salt in a food processor. While mixing, pour the oil, a little at a time, until obtaining a rough pesto consistency.
Instead of using the food processor, and if you have enough time and patience, you can use a mortar and pestle. Crush the garlic, salt and parsley, adding gradually the pistachios. Halfway, start adding the parmigiano, alternating with the pistachios. Add the oil, a little at a time, until obtaining the rough pesto consistency.
If the pesto is too thick, add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.
Cook the pasta “al dente” (cooking basics), drain it and pass it under cool running water to stop the cooking.
Pour the pasta in a bowl, add the pesto, the tomatoes cut in small pieces and mix gently. Let cool in the fridge for 1 one hour.
Spinach Frittata Recipe
Frittata is a kind of Italian omelette that can contain cheese, vegetables, or even leftover pasta. These mini frittate are easy to do and just delicious. They’re a “must” to try if you’re looking for something perfect to eat during a picnic.
They are fun to make and the kids love them!
INGREDIENTS for 12 small frittate
500 g spinach leaves , thoroughly cleaned
2 Tbsp olive oil
9 large eggs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and a grating of nutmeg
Preheat the oven to 180°. Set 1 mini muffin tins with muffin cups. Cook spinach in 1/4 cup of water in a covered saucepan until just wilted, a couple minutes. Wrap the spinach in paper towels and squeeze out as much moisture as you can. Then chop the spinach and cook in the pan with olive oil and a grating of nutmeg for 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and Parmesan cheese, then add the spinach and a pinch of salt. Fill the muffin cups almost to the top with the mixture. Bake until the egg mixture is puffy and golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for several minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, loosen the frittata from the muffin cups and slide onto a platter.
Melone e prosciutto
This easy and refreshing starter featuring melon and cured ham, is a perfect dish for a brunch menu or for a picnic party.
Ingredients for 4 servings
1 sweet melon (like Cantalupe melon), seeds and skin removed
8 slices cured ham (like Parma ham)
a pinch of white pepper
Just cut the melon, into bite-size pieces or into wedges, wrap a slice of ham around each piece, spear them on skewers and drizzle white pepper over them.
Use superior quality Italian ham, like Parma or San Daniele, for best results.
Tips: Are you planning a journey inPisa, the city of the Leaning Tower? Don’t miss a visit at the grocery shop La bottega del Parco in Piazza Vittorio Emanuele for one of the best pecorino toscano cheese. During the springtime you will find the fresh peas and broad beans at the market in Piazza delle Vettovaglie, close to Borgo Stretto.
Have you ever tasted the Bronte pistachios? They are cultivated in Sicily, in a small city called Bronte and all around. If you want to surprise your guests, we suggest you to prepare a tasteful pesto with Bronte pistachios.