Portofino Rotini

Posted on August 24, 2012


When it’s time for dinner, sometimes you need to nosh on something while you think, cook, talk, answer the phone, press 3 to be taken off the call list, and do conversions from one recipe to…. normal numbers from the country of one’s birth… This calls for a little app, and a dinner that takes less than 30 minutes. It’s Friday, who are you kidding? All you want to do is kick back and sleep, or, is that just me?

Caprese (sans basil)
chop up a few pieces of fresh mozzarella
chop up fresh (csa share!) tomato
use a few toothpicks to stack them however you like
drizzle with balsamic vinegar (or halfhazardly throw it in the direction of the plate like I did covering the floor, counter and cabinets better than the cheese or tomatoes…)

Anything like the above, or combinations with pesto, or some small bit of deli meat is also a good little antipasto to get you going, and not too much to overload you and turn you off from the idea of eating your real meal once it finally hits the table.

I found a recipe for something like this the other day (the pasta I’m about to start talking about, not the lazy caprese) and it looked really good. It was made with linguini and I couldn’t bring myself to make any homemade pasta tonight. It was just, ugh. A REALLY long week. Stupidly long. And work today involved being forced to listen to country music at top volume for hours on end. This, for me, is like listening to a cat yowl, while somebody chews really loudly in your ear, mixed with nails on a chalkboard. I hate country music more than… oh. So many things! It actually makes me angry. But, I digress. I was fed up with Friday and exerting myself by the FIFTH time we heard a song about “it’s something something bout a truuuuuucccck!  twang, twang, twang…” awful.

Portofino Pasta
adapted from Delia Online

serves about 4-6, or 2 for dinner and then some lunches*

1/2-3/4 lb wax beans, cleaned, ends snapped off, then snap into thirds? (bite sized is what I aimed for…)
8-10 red new potatoes, cleaned, scubbed, and then sliced with the large side of the box grater that I have…
1 lb of pasta that holds pesto well
1 cup prepared (or fresh, if you’ve got time to make some? I made some with arugula and basil…) pesto
salt/pepper/fresh grated parmesan cheese to taste once served

These are what my potatoes and beans looked like…


It really doesn’t seem like it’s that hard to make these photos do what I want them too. Why is it that when I start to think about it I get so turned around and confused?! Sheeez.

Anyways. That’s what I was trying to show without taking up a TON of space on this thing, but I guess that wasn’t 100% effective…

Step One: Get a large pot/dutch oven, fill with water, and salt (well) bring to full boil. This will be the only pot you use to cook ALL of these ingredients all together . It will save you complaining (too much) about doing dishes later on. Well, one pot, one strainer, and whatever you eat them out of… But still, not too shabby right?

Step Two: Put your twirly pasta of choice into the boiling, salted water, and cook for about 4-ish minutes – bringing back to boil. Add potatoes. Cook for another 5-ish minutes. I like al dente pasta, so I went with minimal cooking time for all of these things, I also don’t like overcooked, or limp beans, so cook this to your taste, and pull a sample out to check it out throughout.

Step Three: Add beans (green or wax, or if you use peas use a much smaller cooking time for this third part..) and cook for another few minutes. Reserve at least 1-1/2 cup of pasta water before you drain the pasta, cause this will get really dried out, really quickly. Especially if when you add anymore grated cheese to it. Mix in the pasta water and pesto, plate, and serve.


*I think this would be a good lunch, even if you (like myself and by better half) work in construction and rarely have a place to zap things in a microwave to warm them up. I may actually even be eating it for a little lunch tomorrow…

I think if I make this again, I’ll be sure to save a bit more pasta water, cause we had to resort to some olive oil, to dress the pasta to make it less dry. Whooopsie! Way to crash into the end of the week, lady! I would probably make less, much less, like in 1/2 or so and make a salad and a little bit of meat, and have this not be the entree. I like it though. I will probably be making this again in the dead of winter… When it’s actually appropriate to be warming bowls prior to plating your pasta.

Tonight’s dinner was paired with the above chardonnay. I was spurred by a post I read earlier about wine to stop at the liquor store and get myself some on my way home from my torturously long day. I like it. It’s simple, not too bold. It tastes good with fresh grated parmesan cheese… I’m clearly not a wine buff, or I would’ve just said something smart. But it’s good to try something new. It’s not super fruity, it’s a solid taste, but not too tart or dry…? Ok. I’ll stop before I embarrass myself… It’s like $10, maybe even $8? I wasn’t really paying attention. It was cold, it was chardonnay, it was soon to be mine.