This was not the pesto meal, it was soup for lunch. But the sky looks exactly like today.
I woke up this morning to an overcast, chilly day… and it got me thinking about my time spent in Cinque Terre, Italy around this time of year almost four years ago. It was my honeymoon, and Cinque Terre was only one of the stops among many in Italy and France, but it was certainly most memorable for me.
What an amazing place. I won’t describe to you all of the wonderful things about this collection of five tiny villages along the coast, but just know, aside from its delectable food, it has so many more celebrated attributes. I WILL tell you about the food, though, and one exceptional meal in particular.
My husband and I stayed in Monterosso, the village with the most ‘nightlife’… and when I say nightlife, I mean a few folks enjoying their DOC wine al fresco. One evening, after hiking between all five villages and returning to Monterosso, we felt very deserving of a delicious pasta meal. (We would have felt deserving even if we hadn’t hiked, but…) We snuggled onto a charming restaurant patio overlooking the sea, and ordered up a carafe of the dry, white wine that so perfectly complements the fresh seafood and pesto the area is known for. You see, pesto and focaccia originated in the Ligurian region, and being steps away from the water, seafood is a staple in the cuisine. This is a sublime place for me because I could honestly live on those three food items alone.
So we ordered fettuccine with pesto, sat back and breathed in the misty, sea air. When our meal arrived, we were immediately overwhelmed with the aroma of garlic, toasted pine nuts and basil. The pasta was swirled into this beautiful, glistening nest — each noodle coated from end to end with bright, green flecks of basil and Parmesan cheese, gorgeous clumps of olive-oily, nutty, cheesy, noodley goodness… oh my, I could hardly wait to take a bite! And I did. I prefer using the spoon and fork method when eating long noodley pasta so I swirled a big gob of fettuccine onto my fork, big enough to fill your entire mouth, and took a bite of the best pesto and fresh, handmade pasta I’ve ever eaten. A sip of wine finished the moment and I sat there, smiling, sucking it all in so I could always remember. I’m glad I did because I swear when I close my eyes even now, I can still taste that first bite, so much so that it makes me want to go make some pesto right now. Maybe I will…
We ate our meal and chatted and had a wonderful, film-like evening. With the moon rising above the water, I soon noticed we had a guest at our table. This little kitty cat came up and sat down beside me, patiently waiting for a scrap of food. Apparently, the area is littered with wild cats which became very obvious during the remaining days we had in CT. Anyway, I felt so sorry for the little guy, that I tossed him a bite of our pasta and wondered if it tasted as good to him as it did to us. Suddenly the spaghetti scene from Lady and the Tramp came to mind, and I finished my wine to the sound of that pudgy Italian man singing Bella Notte. It truly was.