Pistachio Pasta Salad
After huge flight delays that caused multiple missed flight connections and lost luggage (not 1, not 2, but 3 lost pieces of luggage for our group of 4 – we will never fly Alitalia again!), we made it to Sicily & Rome and back.
As mentioned in my last post, I was pretty worried about biking in Sicily still coughing from the delightful pneumonia side effect of ‘reactive airways.’ But all was fantastic. I didn’t power up the hills (yes, like the ones in the background of this photo) the way I’d have liked, but I didn’t have to walk my bike (much) either
From a lo-co lifestyle perspective, it doesn’t get much better than a Backroads Bike Trip. You bike for 30-40 miles a day (you can do more, but…) and then eat fantastic food that someone else prepares for you. And on this particular Sicily bike trip, the food was spectacular – and healthy. Lots of olive oil, freshly made pasta, and for this trip in particular there was an emphasis on ‘farm-to-table’ that meant we had unbelievably fresh eggplant and zucchini at nearly every meal.
I miss it. And the gelato. And the beer that we always had at the end of a hard day’s ride. OK, OK, so this ride in particular we had a 7 mile dead downhill to Sicily’s southern coast – so it wasn’t the least bit strenuous. But it was hot – like 95 degrees hot – so we needed that beer!
But it wasn’t all beer and wonderful Sicilian red wine. The food was extraordinary. Lo-co wise, it was perfect – healthy food and a lot of exercise. I asked the chef at a restaurant in Scicli to share his recipe for a stupendous eggplant caponata, which he generously gave me. I’ll post it, but it’s in Italian so I have to find someone to translate it first.
Back home, I was determined to find a fresh pasta recipe I could make to help me stay on track, lo-co wise. Happily, I discovered this Gemelli Salad with Green Beans, Pistachios and Lemon-Thyme Vinaigrette dish. The recipe’s from Cooking Light and it was both easy to make and delicious. And since it’s cold, it’s perfect for the summer.
I served it to a group of friends for lunch, who both demolished it and asked for the recipe. So I’m making it again tonight and bringing it (with a green salad) to my cousin Stephen as he recovers from a diving board, um, incident that left him in surgery for a broken ankle and torn achilles tendon…
He won’t be biking soon, but I’m still spinning – and trying to eat healthy. It’s a good thing gelato doesn’t exist here like it does in Sicily and Rome…