Pesto Power with Tali

OG SS girl Tali is back to share a little kitchen wisdom

Tali is like the Italian nonna you wish you had, but more fun and with better hair. How does she make cooking a life-affirming bowl of pasta look so damn easy?! Read on and steal her secrets.

Tali! Give us the 411 on your pesto powers:
I love an easy pesto; it’s always a winner. All you need is a small Cuisinart or blender, or if you are going lo-fi, even a mortar and pestle will do! The classic pesto recipe is to blend together pine nuts, fresh basil, one or two garlic cloves, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste into a paste. Drizzle the final mixture over your favorite pasta or grain and you have a delicious meal. Super easy and tasty!

And if you’re feeling adventurous?
You can get creative and swap pine nuts for a different kind of nut and swap basil for another type of green. I have made delicious versions with kale and walnuts, or arugula and almonds, though my favorite is always the original classic. Can’t go wrong! This recipe is super simple but really nice and flavorful, and the presentation is always fun and gets a great response. It is my favorite warm-weather recipe and the best part about this recipe is that you can prep everything easily beforehand, and just hang with your guests when they come. You’re still able to serve a steaming hot, tasty meal that impresses without all the work.

Pasta a la Cecca
Serves 6

1 cup good olive oil
3-4 garlic cloves, diced
1 lb tomatoes, chopped and cubed
3 or 4 large mozzarella di bufala balls, cubed (the ones submerged in water)
1 bunch fresh basil, chopped
Season with sea salt and pepper to taste

Beforehand: Combine all ingredients in a bowl, keeping a little extra of the chopped basil aside for garnish. Let the mixture marinate in a cool place for a few hours, mixing the sauce periodically. The key to this recipe is to really let the oil, garlic, mozzarella and tomatoes mingle together for a few hours before cooking.

Once guests arrive: Boil the water & cook the pasta. Then the fun part, the presentation: Put the steaming noodles in a serving bowl on top of the marinated sauce, and toss it all together to combine the flavors and the pasta. This part always gets a good response as the colorful tomatoes and fragrant oil mix well. The mozzarella melts a bit into the warm pasta, and then you and your little stash of additional basil on top for garnish. I like to serve this accompanied with a simple arugula salad dressed with lemon. Voila, an easy, sexy little meal!”

Serving up with sex appeal since 2011. Now tell us: go-to noodles? Go! Pippa@sousstyle.com and gillian@sousstyle.com