So, I don’t often talk about what it’s like to live in Italy since this is more of a food, recipes, travel blog instead of an expat blog, but where I live, it’s definitely not like living under the Tuscan Sun. Milan is a city, albeit a city surrounded by a beautiful country that is Italy.
Instead, today I’ll talk you about someone who IS living under the Tuscan sun, expat veteran Judy Witts Francini, aka Divina Cucina. She has her own blog, which you should definitely check out, and we were supposed to meet a few weeks ago but thanks to a stupid train strike, that meeting didn’t work out. I was so pleased to get her new cookbook, Secrets from my Tuscan Kitchen: Divina Cucina’s Recipes by Judy Witts Francini in the mail with a nice note from her, and I couldn’t wait to try it out.
Judy is an expat who came here 25 years ago, and stayed. I’ve only been here for 6 years, which some days seems like a long time, but then I meet someone like Judy and I realize…I’m just getting started.
Judy’s made her first cookbook, written, produced and printed locally here in Italy – Secrets from my Tuscan Kitchen: Divina Cucina’s Recipes by Judy Witts Francini – I hope you check it out. David Lebovitz posted Perfect Panna Cotta from the cookbook as well!
In continuing in my “I Dare” food cooking challenge of 12 Fresh Pastas this year, I knew I wanted to make a pasta with spinach and Judy’s Salsa di Noci – Walnut Sauce / Pesto is great with the spinach pasta!
I called the pasta I made “Reginette” but they are not true Reginette which are wide ribbons but have wavy edges and therefore are difficult to do at home without special tools…but I think they’re close enough! You can make tagliatelle or fettucine instead of you prefer. I also fried up some sage leaves for a garnish.
Fresh Spinach Pasta
For 3-4 servings. Can be easily doubled.
150g fresh spinach
- In a food processor, puree the fresh spinach with the egg until all pieces are well chopped.
- Add the flour and pulse until just mixed together.
- Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until pasta is elastic and smooth. Add more flour if dough is too sticky.
- Form into a ball, lightly oil it and cover it with plastic wrap. Place in fridge for 30-60 minutes.
- Divide the dough into at least two pieces (if the recipe is doubled, 4 pieces) and loosely form a rectangle shape with your hands. With a rolling pin (or pasta machine), roll out the dough.
- With a ravioli cutter, cut the pasta into 1/2 inch strips wide and 6-8 inches long.
- Cook pasta for 8-10 minutes in salted boiling water.
Salsa di Noci – Walnut Sauce
Note from Judy: This sauce is traditionally served with ravioli filled with spainch and ricotta or with tagliatelle. I like to serve it on bread as an appetizer.
6oz. walnuts (170g)
2 garlic cloves
2 slices white bread
3 T. olive oil
- Remove the crusts from the bread and soak in a little milk, just enough to wet the bread.
- In a food processor, blend the bread with the walnuts and garlic until pureed.
- Add salt to taste, then add olive oil and blend again.
- It can be thinned with more milk until you have the consistency you desire.
Want to make more fresh pasta? Try some of my other fresh pasta recipes: