About 5 years ago, during a family vacation to Maine, we happened upon a great little Italian restaurant named The Great Impasta. Our time there included two memorable things; 1. my dad forgetting the word for lasagna (yes, it was really funny, and I guess you had to be there) and 2. I had my first taste of Pasta Foriana. I remember tasting it and thinking simultaneously "this is one of the best things I've ever eaten" and "I could make it better." Apparently a dish that originated outside of Naples, Foriana is a Lenten meal, and is made with anchovies. Although I do love anchovies, I didn't have any around last night when making this dish. My other changes were using basil pesto, instead of parsley, adding cranberries, corn, lemon and red pepper flakes. Plus lots of extra garlic and fresh Parmesan cheese, obviously. As with all things I cook, the measurements are relative. If you really love cranberries, add extra. If you hate cheese (I don't actually think this is possible), then don't put as much.
The Great Impasta Foriana
Fresh pesto (I used one full bunch of fresh basil, 1 clove of garlic, olive oil. Made about 1/3 cup)
2ish tbls of olive oil
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 cup toasted, cut up walnuts
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup green raisins
1/4 cup sweet white corn
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
Parmesan cheese, lots
red pepper flakes
A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
s&p to taste
pasta, cooked al dente- I used whole wheat Serpentini Rigate, but would probably use a ribbon noodle next time, like spaghetti
Start cooking your pasta in salted water.
In a large skillet, on low heat, toast the pine nuts and chopped walnuts for about a minute, until you can smell them. Add the olive oil and the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the cranberries, raisins, pesto and add a ladle's worth of pasta water (with all it's magical thickening ability) to the pan. Keep the heat low, and just let it sizzle away. The berries and raisins will start to plump up- add more pasta water if needed. You don't want it to turn soupy, but it shouldn't be dry in the pan. When your pasta is about done cooking, add the corn to the skillet, as well as red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and lemon juice. Rinse and drain the pasta, and pour the mixture over the hot noodles and toss. Top with Parmesan cheese!