Trofie, Chicken and Walnut Pesto
When I was up north a couple of weeks ago we dropped into Booths. I’ve wanted to have a look at the artisan food in Booths for a while. We don’t have any of their stores down south.
We had somewhere to be, so I didn’t have much time to get a really good look around the deli counters. But I did manage to pick up a couple of interesting things, including this gorgeously packaged bag of trofie pasta. I fully admit that I bought it because the packet looked so authentic and rustic. I am a marketing company’s dream.
I’ve never seen trofie before, so I brought it home and consulted my favourite pasta book for inspiration. The Geometry of Pasta should be your bible if you’re in any way interested in pasta dishes. It alphabetically lists countless shapes, gives a little history on each and includes a stylised black and white illustration of each pasta. The book lists recipes for sauces that match each shape, and you can also search in reverse. You can look up a sauce, then find out which pasta suits it best.
Trofie is short, firm and slightly twisted in shape. The book lists it as “torpedo-shaped”. It doesn’t expand a great deal when cooked, so what you see is roughly what you get. According to the book it is the preferred choice in Liguria for pesto Genovese – the original and renowned basil based pesto.
Pesto Genovese is one of my absolute favourite things, but I made it quite recently. Instead I plumped for walnut pesto, which was one of the alternative suggestions and something I don’t think I’ve tried before. Walnut pesto is quite different in that, while it includes olive oil and parmesan, bread and milk form the base of the sauce. This makes it creamier, particularly with the higher volume of nuts than you find in the Genovese.
I whizzed everything up according to the recipe and mixed it with some grilled chicken and the pasta. I’m not sure I’d put the chicken in again. At least, not as much. Had I been cooking it just for myself I’d have left it out from the start. Its size overpowered the small pasta pieces. I also felt the dish needed some green flecked through it; maybe a little flatleaf parsley or some bright green beans to accent the very creamy colour.
Flavour-wise the pesto was good. It would be ideal during the winter when you crave thicker sauces with more substance. It certainly hasn’t replaced the much-loved Genovese in my heart, and having now cooked and felt the texture of the trofie, I can see exactly how perfectly matched it is to the oilier original.
Now I just need another bag of pasta to play around with.