A Pesto story, with recipe

So much basil growing bright green and healthy in my garden, that I can hear the breeze whispering the word pesto, as it brushes over the tender leaves.  So I heed to the call of summer, gather a few handfuls and bring it in.  I turn on some music – Gigi Finizio, Renato Zero and a little Giorgia will surely pictureinspire me, reawaken memories.  Well, Marina di Camerota comes to mind, a tiny beach village along the coast South of Naples, in the province of the city of Salerno  My family and I were staying at a small hotel whose name escapes me, within a short walk of the uncrowded, beautiful white beaches of the area.  During the two weeks we spent there, we got to know the other guests, an interesting crowd from all over Italy, and few enough to easily become friendly, since we met in the dining room at every meal.  There was a couple from the city of Genova, accompanied by their pretty teenage daughter and by…a young cousin on her honeymoon with her husband.  I know, weird, but the explanation was that this young bride’s new husband had broken his arm right before the wedding, which was now in a cumbersome cast, and the family thought it would be best if their honeymoon coincided with the relatives’ vacation in case some help was needed with the temporarily handicapped new family member.  That’s what they said, what can I tell you? And everybody seemed very comfortable with this atypical situation.  Anyway, the older couple one day decided to cook their famous Trenette al Pesto for all the hotel’s guests (small hotel, remember, a little more than a pensione, not your Hilton mega-resort here).  Now, at the time, Pesto was picturerelatively unknown even in Italy, as it is a very regional specialty, so we were all intrigued.  Well, there go the guests from Genova into the kitchen (minus the unfortunate groom), giving the grateful staff a day off, and very efficiently prepare a most delicious pasta feast for everyone.  I must admit that, eighteen-year-old girl that I was, at first I found this pungent green concoction rather strange, and so did some of the other guests.  However it was a cheerful, high-spirited crowd, and the delicious local white wine certainly contributed to the atmosphere of baldoria.  So here’s my pesto, rich and vibrant, thickened by little, creamy potato chunks, fabulous on my favorite pasta,  known as fischiotti in Molise, but here called cellentani.  Have plenty of good cheese on hand and, preferably, a table set up al fresco. Click here for recipe.


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