Pistachio Pasta Salad

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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…


2 thoughts on “Pistachio Pasta Salad

  1. I made this for a party on the weekend — so unusual and tasty! I went to Stop N’Shop to buy more Gemelli — and there was a big empty spot where the gemelli would be. Have you told everyone about this wonderful recipe?

  2. The gemelli pasta salad is AMAZING. So tasty…

    I’ve wondered how the Italians can eat all that pasta and still stay so slender. Do they also bike 30-40 miles a day (groan, I can barely drive that much without feeling exhausted)?

    My challenge (as a solidly middle aged woman) is how to aim for the low cholesterol diet while also keeping the carbs low? Because when I eat carbs, I gain weight! I’d love to have that gemelli salad (and variations on it) every day, but…

    Any thoughts about low cholesterol, low carb recipes/meals? Is that basically ice water?

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