It’s no surprise that Italian food got so quickly adopted in almost every country. After all, every Italian dish fulfills the definition of a comfort food. Whether it’s pasta on a thousand different ways, various kinds of pizza, cheese, wine, biscotti, cannoli, gelato, or about a million other things, everything is soothing and comforting. Having Italian food for lunch or dinner is always a good idea.
Wherever we travel, we like to try local cuisine. We usually look for something ordinary that locals eat daily. But it’s also true that we like a good pizza or pasta dishes, and tomato soup, even on summer days. So if we are in doubt on where to eat in a new city, we tend to go to an Italian restaurant.
We found Vapiano while we were visiting Stockholm and since then we never miss a chance to eat there. We’ve been in Vapiano in Amsterdam, Cologne, Munich, and recently in Berlin. So far we have tried just a small portion of their menu, but we already have our favorites. For example, their Fusilli with Pesto Rosso & Ricotta.
We tried to recreate it at home, and even though it’s not a perfect clone of the dish they serve in the restaurant, it’s pretty close. Now, it became a staple in our cooking repertoire. Whenever we buy a jar of pesto rosso, we use half of it in red pesto risotto and the other half in this recipe. I love that we need just a few ingredients, which are pretty versatile, and we can create two distinct meals.
Fusilli with Pesto Rosso & Ricotta
- 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
- 2 cups (140 grams) whole-grain fusilli or spirelli pasta
- 90 grams red pesto
- 12 cherry tomatoes (quartered)
- 125 grams ricotta
- pinch chili powder (optional)
- 1 clove garlic (optional)
- Cook the pasta in a large pot according to the instructions on the package.
- Meanwhile, heat a large pan or wok and toast the sunflower seeds for a few minutes. When the seeds start to turn golden, remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
- Return the pan to the medium heat and add pesto and a 1/4 cup of pasta water. Mix to create a smooth sauce. If using, add a pinch of chili powder and minced garlic.
- Drain the cooked pasta. Add the cooked pasta and tomatoes to the pan and mix with the sauce. Mix carefully until the pasta is covered with the pesto sauce.
- Serve in a bowl, with a dollop of ricotta cheese on top. Garnish with fresh basil, more sunflower seeds, and cherry tomatoes.
Do you have favorite cuisine or favorite Italian dish?