Maltagliati Pasta with Pistachio Pesto

Maltagliati con Pesto al Pistacchio

Maltagliati

Today’s post is one of odds and ends, literally. Sure, there are two “recipes” to be shared but neither is deserving of its own post, both being incredibly easy to prepare. One, in fact, is traditionally nothing more than scraps, giving more proof to the adage that nothing is wasted in an Italian kitchen.

Maltagliati is a pasta of irregular shapes, the name of which is derived from the Italian words for badly cut, male taglio. (Thanks, Francesca, of Almost Italian). It is the end pieces and leftover bits of pasta that result from a day of pasta making. Like snowflakes, no two pieces are alike, each being randomly cut. The fact that there would be enough scraps to prepare a dinner is an indication of the difference between our two countries’ eating habits.

By one estimate, the average per capita consumption of pasta in Italy is 59 pounds per year, while in the US it’s only 19 pounds apiece annually. Yet we have an obesity epidemic. The reality is that a one pound package of pasta will yield 8 servings in most Italian kitchens. They will serve one such serving with most evening meals, the primo piatto. Here, we’ll get 5, 4, or even 3 mega-servings from a single pound. That serving is often the main course, with the addition of a salad, bread, and possibly a dessert.

Most of our pasta is manufactured and store-bought. Up until recent times, the vast majority of pasta served in Italian homes was made by hand. If you make enough pasta so that everyone in your household is going to eat 59 pounds of pasta per year, you are bound to have a lot of scraps to deal with. Those scraps can become maltagliati and will be served in any number of ways, usually determined by the amount at hand.

Very often, they’re served with beans, taking the place of the ditalini used in last week’s Pasta e Fagioli recipe. If you’ve plenty, they can be served with a hearty meat sauce, as was served to Zia and me one evening in Rome, where I first heard of this pasta. Here, I’ve chosen to serve them with a new version of pesto, simply because I needed a pasta narrative to accompany the recipe for today’s pesto. It would have been an incredibly short post, otherwise.

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Yes, that’s the first, lonely crocus to bloom in my front garden. Spring is finally taking hold and 1st Bloomwith the new season comes an offer from my blogging friend, Mary, of Love – The Secret Ingredient. She is creating surprise boxes that will contain various gourmet items, small kitchen products, and recipes which will use the enclosed items. A box will be delivered every season and you can purchase them separately or all four at once. The part that caught my attention is that Mary will donate 10% of the annual profits to Feed The Children, an organization dedicated to providing hope and eliminating hunger. You can learn all about Mary’s Secret Ingredients by clicking HERE.

Note: Although I’ve ordered and paid for a surprise box, I have not received any form of compensation for mentioning Mary’s offer. I saw this as an opportunity to help a fellow blogger and worthwhile charity at the same time.

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Freshly Made Maltagliati*     *     *

How to Make Maltagliati Pasta

  • If you make a full recipe of Mom’s Pasta Dough, you will have about 1.5 pound (680 g) of pasta dough. That will make quite a bit of pasta, so, you may wish to halve the recipe or cut it into 3rds or 4ths. For this post, I cut the pasta recipe in half.
  • Take a portion of the dough and run it through the pasta machine rollers until it is as thin as you like. My rollers start at 1, the thickest setting, and I continue to roll the dough, up to and including the 6 setting. You may like your pasta thinner. If so, continue to advance the setting as you roll the dough.
  • Lay the dough strip out flat on your work surface, dust lightly with flour, and allow to rest for a few minutes.
  • Pastry WheelsUse a straight-edged pastry cutter to divide the strip into 3 equal strips. No need to worry about it being a perfect straight line. Just do the best you can. Do not separate them but leave them as-is.
  • Now, take your pastry cutter and beginning in the upper left corner, make a series of diagonal cuts, approximately parallel to each other. Once done, starting in the upper right corner, make diagonal cuts going the other way, repeatedly,  You will end up with a collection of triangles and trapezoids, no two exactly alike — not to mention a better appreciation of your Geometry teacher who predicted that “one day this ‘stuff’ will be useful.”
  • Place them in a single layer on a wax paper covered baking sheet that’s been lightly dusted with flour or corn meal.
  • Repeat until all the dough strips have been cut. If you like, use a fluted-edged pastry wheel to cut the pasta, as well as the straight-edged. This will further the illusion of this being a pasta dinner made from scraps. (see Notes)
  • To cook, bring a large pot of heavily salted water to boil, add the maltagliati, stir, and allow to cook for a few minutes. Being freshly made, they should be fully cooked within minutes. Taste one when all have risen to the top of the pot of boiling water.
  • Drain and dress with pesto, recipe to follow. (See Notes)

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Maltagliati 2*     *     *

Notes

Not everyone has time to make pasta, even when the process is as easy as this. Should that be the case, take some store-bought lasagna noodles and snap them. Just don’t get carried away, for it is easier to dine on larger pieces than tiny ones.

Being flat, maltagliati have a tendency to stick together once drained, so, you must work fast. Once the pasta has been drained, quickly give it a light coating of olive oil before dressing it with the pesto. If using a red sauce, there’s no need for the olive oil but you still must quickly add it to the drained noodles.

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So, now that you’ve got a scrappy little pasta at your disposal, it’s time to dress it.

I certainly won’t pretend to speak for everyone but I will say that by this time of year, I’m desperate for any kind of Summer dish. Pesto for me is one such dish. In Summer, I can get a wedding-sized bouquet of basil for a couple of dollars at the farmers market. This time of year, I’m lucky to get a few stems for the same price. Today’s pesto recipe gives me my Summer fix without breaking the bank, for not only does it use half the basil, it substitutes pistachio nuts for the über expensive pine nuts, pignoli. (Just last month, I saw a 4 oz package (113 g) of imported organic Italian pine nuts with a price of $12.99. That’s $52.00 a pound!!!)

Whether you’ve made pesto before, you shouldn’t have any problems preparing this recipe.

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Pistachio Pesto*     *     *

Pistachio Pesto Recipe

Ingredients

yield: 1 cup pesto

  • 1.4 oz (40 g) fresh basil leaves (See Notes)
  • 1.1 oz (30 g) fresh, flat leaf parsley leaves
  • .5 oz (15 g) roasted, unsalted pistachio nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese – Parmigiano Reggiano may be substituted
  • 3 oz (79 ml) extra virgin olive oil – more or less to taste
  • salt & pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place everything but the olive oil, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Let it process until a thick paste is formed.
  3. While the processor is still running, add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream until the pesto reaches the consistency you prefer.
  4. Taste and season with salt and pepper, as required. Pulse the processor to blend the seasonings with the pesto.
  5. Your pesto is ready for use.

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Notes

The reason for the odd amounts of basil and parsley is because of how both were purchased. I bought a 2 oz package of basil that, once the stems were removed, actually weighed 1.4 oz. Similarly, I bought a bunch of parsley that, once cleaned, weighed 1.1 oz.

Traditionally, pesto is made using a mortar and pestle rather than a food processor. I do not own a mortar large enough to do this, so, I use a food processor. The fact that it is so much easier this way has nothing to do with it.

I used my pesto recipe as the basis for today’s version. You can use your own pesto recipe, just be sure to replace 25 to 50% of the basil with parsley and, of course, use pistachio nuts instead of pine nuts.

Refrigerate unused pesto in an airtight container, after topping with a thin coat of olive oil. Use it or freeze it within a few days.

If I’m going to freeze this or any pesto, I do not add cheese to it while it’s being made. I’ve found that the cheese doesn’t thaw well and the pesto’s consistency suffers. Instead, I’ll add the cheese to the pasta when the pesto is added.

If you have frozen pesto containing cheese, mix it with a bit of hot pasta water before using it to dress the pasta. The hot water will help make the pesto more smooth and easier to evenly coat the pasta.

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It’s déjà vu all over again …

Insalata With lawns going green and last Fall’s bulbs breaking the ground’s surface, it can only mean one thing. It’s dandelion picking season! What you may consider a blight on your lawn, a Bartolini sees as a crisp salad. Click HERE to see the lengths traveled by my Dad to enlist our help picking the greens for our Sunday night dinner.

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Coming soon to a monitor near you …

Lamb Shank PreviewLamb Shanks

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136 thoughts on “Maltagliati Pasta with Pistachio Pesto

  1. Never heard about Maltagliati before – love the no waste idea. Brilliant! Think I am going to have take some basil out of my Uncle’s garden to make your pesto – I will be kind enough to share some with him, promise.
    Have a wonderful week John.
    🙂 Mandy xo

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    • I’d have been surprised ,Mandy, if you were familiar with this pasta. One has to make quite a bit of pasta to have enough scraps for another meal. Even when they were making pasta for the families, Mom & Zia never had enough for a dinner of maltagliati. Mom cut the scraps into quadretti for soup and stored them until she had enough. Being small, she didn’t have to worry about them breaking as she would maltagliati.
      The good thing about this pesto is that you won’t need to take all of your Uncle’s basil. Just be sure to take some parsley, too, and you’ll be all set. 🙂 Hope yours is a great week, too.

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  2. I wonder if this is the same as pasta rags.. Something that my father made a lot while I was growing up. I just asked him for his recipe last week!
    We must be on the same wave length.. 🙂
    This is a beautiful thing… There is something about a jar of fresh basil that will just put happy in your heart!
    I ordered my box from Mary the other day!
    Wonderful post, lovely recipe. 🙂

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    • Hello! I’m not familiar with a “little rags” pasta. I’ve posted a recipe for “fazzoletti” pasta , little handkerchiefs. I know of another dish, stacciatella, which means little rags but it’s not pasta. It’s a soup with eggs stirred in. I’d be very interested to learn of the pasta your Dad makes. Aren’t these old recipes the best? I love ’em!
      Using parsley in this pesto keeps it bright green, where a pesto with 100% basil will darken when exposed to the air.
      Thanks for the visit and for taking the time to comment. I just “followed” your blog and look forward to exploring it.

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    • Thank you. I agree about the use of pistachio nuts. Adide from a biscotti recipe, this is the only other Italian dish that I prepare with them. Both are good enough, though, that I really should try them elswhere. I bet they’d be good, crumbled, as a breading for fish. Hmmm.. You’ve given me much to think about. Thanks. 🙂

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  3. What an excellent post John. So interesting about the differences in the way people eat and so sad about the food waste. I know it’s the same in England but I’m glad to say that folk like us who were taught well not to waste food are able to cook and enjoy marvellous dishes like this. In Spain there is a similar pasta dish which translates as something like “old rags” which uses all the odds and ends too! Love that pesto – what a beautiful vibrant colour and I bet it tatses amazing with the pistachio nuts. I tend to use almonds here in Spain to make mine as pine nuts are ridiculously expensive. “Make do and mend”, as our Nonnas taught us!

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    • Thanks, Tanya. It really is amazing what you can do in the kitchen with just the ingredients you have on hand. Only when I took a real interest in cooking did I realize the wisdom behind so much of Mom and Zia’s cooking. To this day, Zia throws very little away. Even when they were making pasta for their families, though, they never had enough scraps for a separate dinner. They made quadretti for soup instead of maltagliati. Another commenter mentioned that her father made a “rags” pasta, too. The only “rags” I know of is stracciatella soup and that’s not pasta. I hope she’ll post the recipe.
      The green of this pesto comes from the parsley. It doesn’t darken like basil does when it’s chopped and exposed to the air. I do like the look of it and the pistachio nuts are a nice change — and will leave you with plenty of change in your pocket, too. Pignoli are getting too expensive. Have a great week!

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    • Yes, I stock up, too but, by this time of the year, I’m run out of everything but jam. Luckily, our farmers markets will open at month-end and the process starts all over again. In Italy, you can actually buy maltagliati now, something that would have been unheard of years ago.

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  4. Thank you for posting this. I just pulled the last of my pesto out of the freezer this past weekend. I never thought about using pistachio’s though. I have been making my own pasta for about a year now and I don’t think I can go back–such great flavor! Can’t wait to try this!

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    • So glad to hear that you’re making your own. That’s the thing about making fresh pasta. It just tastes so much better than anything you can buy. Best of all, the mor practice you get, the faster the process becomes. Although I’ve got dried pasta for last minute meals, give me an hour and we’ll be eating freshly made tagliatelle that night. 🙂

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    • Glad to hear , Maureen, that your pine nuts are less expensive now. Maybe ours will follow suit. We can get some cheaper but they’re imported and most are off-tasting. You’re right, though. They”re so good toasted. I love to use them as garnish for a number of dishes.

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  5. The pesto is a beautiful color, love your use of pistachios, as I tend to stick with just pine nuts. I’ll try this variation soon! I’ve consumed more pasta in this form than I care to admit! Yet, I’m never the one who made it – I think it’s time! Essentially a simple dish, yet so flavorful! The photo of the completed dish is beautiful 🙂

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    • Thank you, Nancy. That vibrant green is the parsley. Unlike basil, it won’t darken when chopped and gives the pesto that great color.I use pine nuts, walnuts, and pistachio nuts in my pestos, with slightly different recipes for each. We never ate this pasta at home. Although Mom made a lot of pasta, she never made so much that there’d be enough scraps for maltagliati. You really have to be into some serious pasta making for that. It’s so easy to make that, if you really want some, you can whip up a batch in not time. 🙂

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    • Yes, Norma, it freezes just like normal pesto. That lonely crocus has been joined by many others, though not nearly as many as in years past. I lost quite a few plants over the Winter, including my bearded iris bed and an azalea. Right now, I’m anxiously checking the roses, looking for any signs of life. I fret over them every Spring until I see buds appear. Do you think you’ve lost any of your plants over the Winter? I sincerely hope not.

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  6. We got served a type of maltagliati when we were in Rome also. It was delicious as always and a great way to use up the scraps. The pistachio pesto is a wonderful combo, they are my favourite nut, hands down…now I feel like pistachio gelato! 🙂

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    • Thank you. What a coincidence that we were both served maltagliati in Rome! When I was there the last time, I’d look on the menu for the oddest pasta name, ask the waiter about it, and order it. I never had a bad meal and often heard a great story, like for strozzapreti. And I so agree about the gelato. Pistachio gelato is the best.

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    • Thank you, Sivla. In our climate this time of year, fresh basil is more expensive than normal. I love the taste of parsley, so, I don’t mind using it to make this pesto. In a few weeks, we will have plenty of locally grown basil and I’ll go back to making Pesto alla Genovese.

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  7. I’m so glad you shared both recipes John; the Hungarian kitchen (and by default, my kitchen) operate with the same mandate, no food is wasted! Your left over pasta bits remind me of a recipe my Aunt Ági made with left over crêpes (which she collected in the freezer until she had enough)! She cut them into thin strips and added them to a gorgeous sauce of mushrooms and butter and served it as a side! How clever is that?
    I have a huge bag of Chinese pine nuts in the freezer that I bought from Costco, well before I realized where they were from. Fortunately we haven’t experienced the off putting metallic taste from these (yet), but I will ask my friend Barb to pick up some Italian pine nuts this summer when she and her hubby take their girls to Italy to celebrate their 10 year anniversary just so I can taste the difference. Making pesto with Italian pine nuts is such a luxury. I didn’t realize authentic pesto had parsley in it too, interesting; I wonder if basil was more expensive back in the day? I freeze my pesto in an ice cube tray and that way my portions are small enough to use as a pizza base (damn good) or two or three for something else! I use freshly grated Parmesan and I haven’t noticed a consistency issue, what happens?
    I’m so envious of your beautiful crocus! Our ground is still frozen, in fact we still have an enormous chunk of ice under the outdoor dining area! And its got many of the fallen branches firmly in its grip so it looks quite dishevelled back there.
    I hope you have a beautiful week. I’m going to be making your Easter cheese bread again next week, I’m always thinking of you when I do!

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    • There’s a lot of wisdom connected with limiting our food waste. If we tell ourselves that we won’t throw anything away, we’re forced to be a bit more creative. Your Aunt’s use of crêpes is pure genius!
      I pine nus could be grown in abundance here. There have been so many questions raised about imported foods that I’m leery about them. Just so there’s no misunderstanding, the pesto that most of us make, Pesto alla Genovese, uses only basil. There are plenty of other pestos, depending upon where you are in Italy. I use parsley here because basil is expensive this time of year — and I do like the taste of parsley. In a month, out markets will be open and I’ll be flooded with all the basil I could possible want.
      You’ve still got ice? Wow! Hopefully, you’re getting some of this warm air we’re enjoying and it will melt the last of it, though colder temps are coming back to start next week, Yes, that poor little crocus stood alone. It’s gone now but many others have opened. Still, only about 50% have opened. It looks like I lost a few over the Winter, along with the bearded iris, and an azalea. Now, I’m just watching and hoping that my roses come back. There’s still no signs of life but it’s still early. I’ve been checking them daily. I’d hate to lose any of them but this was a tough Winter.
      I want to make the crescia, too. it’s such a great bread and the kitchen smells so good with it in the over. This year, I’ll be thinking of you baking yours. 🙂
      Have a great weekend, Eva.

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  8. I am so looking forward to pesto sauces. I love it on pasta and especially on grilled pizza. We planted the garden last weekend and the basil is growing! I can’t wait. This pasta looks wonderful. I have not made it before, but I have done the torn lasagna noodles. I still someday I will make pasta from scratch. Perhaps a spring break project with the kids….

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    • I, too, love pesto and this recipe will tide me over until the basil comes flooding in. I use pesto in all kinds of dishes. Soups, sauces, rasted chicken. It’s a great way to add some nice flavors to the pot. This would be a great pasta to make with your boys. There is no “wrong” way to cut them. You just don’t want them too big or too small. I think you boys could handle that. It sounds like a whole lot of fun to me — but I’m speaking from afar. 🙂

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    • Glad you liked the post, Sally, I’d no idea of your love for pistachio nuts. I’ll be sure to seek out more recipes for you. 😉
      Last weeks Pasta e Fagioli and today’s Maltagliati speak volumes about traditional Italian cooking. Last week was all about simple ingredients. This week is pasta scraps because nothing is wasted. It’s taking me a long time but I’m finally getting the message. I’ve seen the light! 🙂

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    • Great!!!! When you do, Arlene, look for one where the pasta cutters can be removed and another type can be attached. This may not mean anything to you initially but, down the road, you may wish to make a wider or more narrow noodle. If you cannot remove your cutters, you’ll have to buy another machine. When you’re ready to buy, I can show you what I mean. Don’t worry. I’m not on anyone’s payroll. I just don’t want you to make the same mistake that I did. 🙂

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  9. Oh I am in LOVE with the pistachio pesto.. that is superb! Wow. Thank you John. And what a wonderful idea of your friends.. the little boxes, i shall go and investigate.. spring is here today, I have doors open! grand.. c

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    • I’m glad you liked today’s recipe, Celi, and thanks for taking th time to check out her offer. Spring is here, too, but I it’s still not warm enough for me to open windows yet. It has to get into the mid-70s before I can open up the place. Mustn’t let Lucy catch cold. Believe me, I am so looking forward to that day!

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      • I love the flavour pistachios and will definitely try your version. I have a question: in Switzerland pistachios are more expensive than pine nuts… is it the contrary in the States?

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        • Yes, very much so. I paid $9.00 for a pound of pistachios and $13.00 for 1/4 pound for imported Italian pine nuts. Now, there are cheaper pine nuts available but they, too, are imported but from other countries and their quality is suspect. Some claim they have an off taste. Hard to believe the situation is reversed for you. It must be because we grow pistachios here and you either grow pine nuts or get them from Italy at a cheaper price. Maybe I should ship you pistachios in exchange of pine nuts. 🙂

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          • Over here it’s more or less the opposite for the pricing of pistachios and pine nuts. It would be a good idea: a cheaper nut trade 😉

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  10. John you have outdone yourself yet again. This looks absolutely, positively wonderful… from the homemade pasta to that gorgeous pistachio pesto. I will try this. Oh, and happy start of Springtime! So glad that you’re slowly getting some warmer weather and colourful blooms 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Laura. I do hope you prepare both recipes. You’re going to love them! Tomorrow will be our 3rd day of glorious Springtime weather. What a difference 20˚ make in one’s outlook. Of course, Sunday the temps fall about but it wouldn’t be Chicago if that didn’t happen. At least we’re moving in the right direction. For a while last Winter, we were just happy to have one, single day above freezing. 🙂

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  11. I have a couple of soup recipes that make use of pasta ends, but not an actual pasta dish. This looks great! And I’m so ready for spring, so the pesto looks terrific! Can’t get enough of that stuff! Good post — I always like twofers! Thanks.

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    • Thanks, John. Yes, never throw away any bits of pasta. It’s amazing what can be done with them. And if you haven’t enough, sacrifice a few good noodles for the greater good. The parsley helps this pesto keep its vibrant color. nice to see in February/March. We’ve just had 3 really nice days and it feels so good to just sit outside again. Of course, things will change tomorrow afternoon but that’s not right now. Spring has arrived!

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  12. One time I wanted to make this kind of rustic dish and I opened up a box of lasagne noodles and did exactly like you said! Actually, it was the pasta dish I made with your mascarpone cheese! It was SO good. This pesto looks pretty amazing too! Love the green colour of pesto but the pistachios make it even more vibrant. I have made pesto with almonds before but not pistachio, so, time to try something new. The girls love pesto.
    Love the crocus! We’re seeing some here now, its so nice to see colour after the drab of winter. Have a great week, John!

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    • Hello, Nazneen. I bet you didn’t know that the broken lasagna noodles were called Maltagliati. Neither did I until I visited Italy with Zia. 🙂 The pistachio nuts and parsley do help to give this pesto a great color. Best of all, it doesn’t darken like pesto made with 100% basil.BTW, your daughters sounds like very wise, discerning young ladies.
      We’ve had 3 glorious days, and there are many more crocus in bloom now. Of course, this being Chicago, it’s all going to change and temps will drop 30˚ tomorrow afternoon. We’ve had 3 days, though, and the promise of many more to come. I hope you all are having a fantastic weekend, Nanzneen.

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  13. Love the simplicity of the dish, and the fresh pesto.
    I now realize that most of my pasta is Maltagliati but definition – as I’m not too accurate with cutting it into perfect shapes… So thank you for giving me the term! 🙂
    I also prefer not to add cheese to pesto and prefer to add it later on to the dish. I’ve been experimenting with pesto for a while now. I use different herbs, including tarragon and mint, and different nuts, such as cashews, almonds and pistachio. I love how each batch comes out different. 🙂

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    • I bet your pasta is cut perfectly, Ronit. Remember, I’ve been to your blog. 🙂
      I’ve only used walnuts and pistachios in my pestos, along with pine nuts. I’ve considered using almonds but cashews? I bet both are wonderful. I’ve only used basil, parsley, and mint, too. You’ve got me wanting to try other greens now. Thanks for the inspiration.

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      • I had some leftover almonds after making Marzipan (I’ve just posted it) and therefore it made sense to experiment with it. The pesto turned out less creamy than with pine nuts, but very tasty. I also liked the roasted cashews better than with raw cashes, and found it goes great with tarragon. 🙂

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    • Thanks, Conor. I didn’t want to say anything on your post but, yes, with Spring and Easter in the air, many of us automatically think lamb. I cook shanks twice yearly. Once in the Fall, it’s my welcome cold weather meal, and again it the Spring. Same welcoming idea but this time it’s for warm weather. I will say, though, that those shanks you prepared sound so very good. Your spice mix is fantastic. I think I’ll give them a try this Fall.

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    • Thanks, Geni. Pistachio pesto is a great variation. I, too, really enjoy it and love that it keeps its vibrant color. The traditional Italian kitchen is a very thrifty place. Throw away perfectly good pasta because it’s broken? Never! 🙂

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    • Thanks, Caroline. If you’ve made pasta at home, this is by far the easiest to make. Roll it out and cut it any way you like. There is no wrong way and, just like any homemade pasta, it tastes great!

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  14. I usually have maltagliati left when I make ravioli, although I sometimes just knead the trimmings into a ball and run it through the machine again to make more ravioli.
    Thanks for explaining why cheese should not be added to pesto before freezing. I know about that, but not why.
    Sadly, pesto made by hand is so much better than in the food processor. I wish it weren’t so as I don’t like using a mortar and pestle. But I compared them side by side and the difference was very clear.

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    • Thanks, Stefan. De[ending upon the amount of dough scraps, I’ll either make more ravioli or some kind of pasta with them. In Winter, it’s almost always quadretti for soup.
      I remember your post comparing handmade vs “processed” pesto and I’m sure your results were sound. I know that when I get a mortar large enough, I’ll revisit making pesto. For now, though, my little mortar isn’t even large enough to make enough pesto for a single primo piatto serving. All in due time … 🙂

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  15. I love that no-waste approach to cooking (although sadly I don’t practice it well enough).Your pasta looks so delicious! It’s fun to make pestos with all sorts of ingredients; they really make a simple dish sing. And your crocus makes my heart sing … could it be that spring is finally here?

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    • Thanks, Mar. We here in the States are used to one kind of pesto, Pesto alla Genovese, when, in reality, there are many kinds served in Italy. Much depends on the area and what nuts are grown there. I’m not sure if pistachio pesto is “authentic”, though. It may be another American creation. No matter. It sure is good! We’ve had 3 really beautiful days and I hope the weather pattern stretched as far East as London. As one would expect, things change tomorrow afternoon but at least we’ve had this wonderful taste of things to come. 🙂

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      • It was a glorious day yesterday and earlier today, but clouding over now. No matter, we got out on the motorcycle for a nice tour through the countryside this afternoon. Also stopped for some groceries; must choose wisely when there’s so little room to carry things home!

        I once made a sun dried tomato and walnut pesto to dollop onto a creamed cauliflower soup. It was so pretty and tasty! I don’t suppose it was authentic, but then again, neither am I (as far as being Italian goes) 😊

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  16. Yum, the pistachio pesto looks amazing. I’m definitely going to try your recipe! I’ll have to ask my aunts if they call this pasta the samething, you know how it is with different dialects depending on the region!
    Wow, the average per capita of pasta consumed in Italy ~ 59 pounds! I laughed at that one b/c I believe it to be true – that is more than what my 4 y/o weighs! LOL

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    • Thanks, Laura. I’ll be interested to hear what your Aunts have to say. It wouldn’t surprise me if they have an entirely different name for this and call some other pasta maltagliati. As you say, so much depends upon the region. Your comment about your 4 year-old’s weight cracked me up. That really does give an entirely different perspective to 59 pounds of pasta. 🙂

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  17. Dare I admit it? I’m just not that thrilled with regular pesto. I mean, it’s OK, but I just don’t love it. Pistachios, though???? Brilliant! Can’t wait to try.

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    • Thanks, Michelle. I do understand. I feel the same way about cilantro. I hope you’ll enjoy this version. Have you tried walnuts? Almonds? Cashews? I’ve yet to try the latter two but a previous commenter has. Now I know I must. 🙂

      Like

  18. Love the whole story! Wonder whether this is what Stefan called ‘handkerchief’ pasta awhile back! And learnt from Maureen I should check local pine nut prices again – had just about given up on those!! But love pistachios, so shall definitely try your delightful sauce 🙂 ! And await for the shanks recipe : they have been popular in bloggers’ kitchens, but methinks I espy some lemon rind [?] and am oh so keen to read!!! [Oh, off topic, am still laughing about your comment in a certain blog based in France yesterday 😀 !!]

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    • Hello, Eha. Glad you enjoyed the post. I believe, though, that you’ve mistaken one of my posts for Stefan’s. The post I wrote was for fazzoletti or “little handkerchiefs”. Those are square, purposefully made; and you can see my post HERE. Maltagliati are really just scraps. There is no way I would ever make enough pasta to have sufficient scraps for a meal, so, I made pasta and cut it to resemble maltagliati.
      Yes, it does seem like lamb shanks are making the rounds, doesn’t it? Spring or Easter probably has something to do with it. You’re correct and that is lemon rind used as a garnish. I saw a TV chef do it and I’ve been following his lead. A little bit of citrus zest really does have a nice effect. I hope you’re having a great weekend!

      Like

  19. What a wonderful dish, John! Being genovese myself, I obviously ADORE pesto! Of course, I used to have it more often with trofie pasta, trenette, gnocchi or even lasagne, which were the types of pasta that were traditionally used in Liguria, but nowadays on this side of the pond pretty much any kind of pasta will do! 😉 My favorite way of having a pesto dish was the über traditional Genoese way, served with boiled potato bits and string beans. You sure brought back many memories… And made me hungry!
    I also enjoyed reading the stats that you mentioned about average pasta consumption here and there. And, I am absolutely with you regarding the humongous portions that many restaurants, diners (or even sandwich stores for that matter!) generally serve here in the US and the effects that this may have on consumers’ weight.

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    • Thanks, Stefano. I’ve enjoyed pesto served the traditional way, with potato and beans. What a wonderful dish! It skirts the line between pasta and salad and I loved it. In this country, we really do need to re-think our dining habits. A good place to start would be restaurant portions. Very often they’re large enough to feed 2 adults. A little less and we’ll all be better off.

      Like

  20. Your crocus bloom is so full of hope for Spring. And I like your promo for the surprise box!
    I am going to order one for a friend in Omaha for her Bday.
    Thanks for all the likes and comments on the blog. I am sharing your post today with some of your fans!
    Have a lovely Easter week. My sister is coming in on the train and we are headed to Rockford to visit our 98 yo aunt!

    Like

    • Hi, Ruth. That little crocus has been joined by a number of others now. We’re just finishing our 3rd day of wonderful weather. Naturally, tomorrow things will change but we’ve had a wonderful glimpse of things to come.
      Thanks for sharing this post, Ruth. You really are one of my biggest supporters and I appreciate it. I’ve no big plans for Easter this year. I’ll make up for it, though. I hope you have a wonderful holiday and enjoy Easter with your Sister and Aunt. Buon viaggio!

      Like

  21. There’s so much to love in this post! First of all, do you think Malta is so named because it is a mix of cultures? Just wondering.. I love the whole idea of gathering up scraps for a unique pasta dish of its own. I have also wondered how there can be so many dishes in Italy, now I know it’s all about portions. Your family’s meals are like our gourmet tasting menus I think. Small portions and lots of variety.. and of course, lots of wine;) Or maybe that’s just me? And those pine nuts… can you believe the cost??!! I think it’s crazy! I’m glad you’ve found the perfect substitute, pistachios are the loveliest light touch of green!
    I love the idea of those boxes, I’m off to see what’s she’s got going on over there. How wonderful to give to a good cause like this.xx

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    • Hello, Barb. I’ve no idea where the name “Malta” came from. Sue would be interesting if it did come about as you’ve suggested. I don’t wish to mislead you. Although my family ate a primo piatto on special occasions and holidays. most often our dinner table looked like anyone else’s, though there was often a pasta of some sort being served, often in place of potatoes. One of our Italian chefs speaks of a region in Italy where they serve as many as 30 courses for a big celebration. I cannot begin to imagine what that must be like and I really do not wish to find out.
      I was glad to give Mary a hand and contribute to a charity at the same time. I’ve yet to receive my box yet. It’s always nice to receive a surprise in the mail. 🙂
      Hope you’re having a great weekend, Barb.

      Like

  22. So happy to hear that your spring has finally arrived John – about time too! I love the idea of this pistachio pesto and will be giving it a go with our last remaining basil from the garden. It’s wet and miserable here today… winter is well on it’s way!

    Like

    • If it’s any consolation, Margot, it seems like only a couple weeks ago when I was picking the last of my herbs and tomatoes for the season. Time really does fly. The last couple of days were quite nice, though it all ends tomorrow afternoon. That’s OK. It’s a promise of things to come and you can bet there’s plenty of pesto in my future. :

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  23. mi piace moltissimo questo tuo raccontare la cucina italiana e confrontarla con quella degli StatiUniti, la nostra grande tradizione unisce praticità e grande cucina pur nell’estrema semplicità, quando ho tempo anche io amo tirare la pasta in casa, penso che proverò col tuo pesto al pistacchio, che sembra davvero delizioso
    Il crocus del tuo giardino ha salutato il mio nuovo giorno, e la dolcezza del tuo pensiero per la blogger Maria, mi ha parlato del tuo grande cuore
    buona giornata amico John!

    I like very much your telling the Italian cuisine and compare it with that of the United States, our great tradition combines practicality and great cuisine while in extreme simplicity, when I have time I also love pulling the dough at home, I think I’ll try it with your pistachio pesto, which looks really delicious
    The crocus of your yard greeted my new day, and the sweetness of your thoughts for the blogger Mary, told me of your great heart
    good day friend John!

    Like

  24. A couple of things that come to mind make maltagliati pasta a really fun choice. I have now made fresh pasta a couple of times, and there was waste in the last little bits that remained at the end. It never occurred to me to use them! And then, I loved the suggestion that in the absence of the pieces perhaps lasagne noodles could be broken. My granddaughters would think that was a fun way to participate in preparing dinner. But the pesto really pleases me, John. I would never have come up with using pistachios, and that’s a wonderful way to go. You’re so right about the cost of pine nuts. I don’t know what happened there, but for the last couple of years they have been outrageously priced. I love having a good option! This is a must, John! 🙂

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  25. I’m pleased to hear Spring is finally making it’s presence felt in Chicago… I bet Celi is too. I too use odds and ends of left over pasta, and everything else, I hate throwing things out. And so long as the food tastes good… I’ve been watching a tv cooking show where a couple of the contestants have come up with pesto variations… some more successful than other (walnut & rocket not) but yours makes perfect sense 🙂

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  26. I like the idea of scrappy pasta. I think my husband and I need to haul out the pasta machine, make some pasta, and let the kids make something of the scraps 🙂
    Your crocus looks beautiful John. No sign of flowers here yet – but we are hoping for warmer temps soon.

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  27. Now I am not a fan of parsley as you know, but this pesto sauce looks terribly inspiring, inviting and mouthwatering. I am especially intrigued by the use of pista nuts. Need to try this, especially as my kids adore pasta.

    Like

  28. There’s never been a time when I’ve visited your blog without a mouth watering response to your recipes! Everything always looks so delicious. I’m going to have to add parsley to my basil next time I make a batch. I try to keep it on hand in the freezer at all times. Usually its made with basil, spinach, sometimes kale, walnuts, garlic, a little lemon juice, and olive oil. Of course being allergic to dairy the cheese is a no-no and for some reason pistachios and pine nuts make me itch!

    Your Crocus is gorgeous and such a good promise of warmer weather to come. We’re just now dipping out toe into spring in New Hampshire. It has been a LONG winter. We still have patches of snow in the shady areas but over the next couple of weeks we’re promised warmer weather.

    Enjoy your Thursday! 🙂 ~ April

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  29. I never knew that this pasta actually had a name & now I know. The pistachio pesto sounds fantastic – you know I’ve never made pesto before but you’ve convinced me that I can do it. After some very heavy rains, we’ve finally gotten rid of our snow here & my bulbs are just starting to peak through – no blooms yet, but soon so there is hope.

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  30. I really enjoyed reading this post – and the pistachio pesto sounds wonderful. I love pesto and I love pistachios so it’s perfect for me! Your point about the pasta serving sizes is a good one – I’m always shocked by the size of the servings of pasta in the US. We are influenced by Europe here in the UK and the servings of pasta are much smaller here.

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  31. Pistachio Pesto sure has a nice ring to it! As does maltagliati. Sometimes when no one is around I love to say Italian words out loud. They just roll off your tongue and are so much fun to say. Yes, I am a bit strange! This sounds like a lovely dish and I do want to know about your dad and dandelions, but I think the link got mixed up because I’m just seeing linguini with clam sauce and though that looks lovely, it has no dandelions! Happy Spring, John!

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  32. HL=huge like, John… 🙂 pesto is very popular in France, but it’s quite normal and logical: Italy is a dear border neighbor… Btw, refined food people(connaisseurs!) reckon 3 main cuisines: French, Italian and Oriental… 🙂 You may know that the French one has been the only one accepted by UNESCO as World’s heritage in 2010… Have a pleasant weekend and good nite now! c u asap! 🙂

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  33. I love that you’ve taken what would have been a classic leftovers dish – bits and pieces of broken pasta – and turned it into a gourmet meal! Pistachios are a lovely idea, but we can’t use them because of food allergies, so we sub almond slivers instead. Agree that the price on pine nuts is insane! I wish you were closer so I could bring the last of our summer basil over to your place! 🙂

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  34. Bouno Sera John! Holy cow 59 pounds of pasta! Thats a lot of pasta! I would love all 59 pounds of it slathered in your pistachio pesto. Pine nuts are really expensive in HK too. Well actually like all food and nuts are expensive here but pine nuts, especially. Pistachios are sweet and naturally green. Love that photo shot of your pesto outdoors with blue skies.

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  35. Looks as if Spring is arriving in Chicago! Your pasta with pistachio nuts looks heavenly… really yummy picture… sue
    womenlivinglifeafter50.com

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  36. We had pasta and pesto tonight — possibly from having seen the e-mail announcing your post two days ago! The link didn’t work for some reason, sorry I’m late (puff, puff…).

    I usually substitute sunflower seeds for pine nuts. I like your idea of pistachios, though, to add to the bright green colour of the pesto.
    And speaking of bright colours, congratulations on your first crocus this year! Happy Spring.

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  37. Will definitely try this the very next time my husband craves for a pasta dish or soon. Thanks for sharing, John. It looks so delicious! You are right about basil and pine nuts. They’re very expensive. Pistachio is definitely a great alternative. Have a great weekend. 🙂

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  38. I love the sound of this pistachio pesto. John. Thanks so much for the recipe. I’m looking forward to trying it. Your crocus is magnificent and I looked at Mary’s site. Looks like a great idea for when I’m back in the US. Please mention it again later in the year, to jog my memory. 🙂

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  39. I love how Italians never waste anything and always come up with a compelling recipe for what other cultures would consider scraps. I also love pesto and yes, at times it can be expensive. At the moment I’m trying to grow my own basil so I can enjoy basil more often without the worry of the cost. I love that gorgeous plate xx

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  40. Pingback: Maltagliati Pasta with Pistachio Pesto | Italia...

  41. First day back from long business trip. What a comforting meal to come home to, even if it is virtual! Love the riff on Pesto, often use other nuts and herbs for fresh taste of summer. Nice work John.

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  42. Ciao John! lookin’ forward to readin’ you about the lamb shanks as we like lamb – in general and I always prepare some for Easter… buona notte e à presto, caro amico! 🙂

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  43. Wow Pistachio pesto, perfect for those beat the cold blues. It really is the perfect hand in hand post. Italians never cease to amaze me

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  44. Hi John
    I’ve been literally walking from Ontario to Chicago, that’s why I took so long (LOL). I have been popping in and out and seeing so many great recipes here. Your cooking is now very, very, many, notches higher and the photography is gleaming. We all hope, one day, we shall become Master Chefs…Thank you for explaining what Maltagliati means. It makes more sense to me now. Nothing is ever wasted in my kitchen either, that’s why I’m fond of soups. A great way to use up left over, but still fresh, ingredients. Oh yes one pound, is never for 8 people here…I am a mega-serving-supporter. Lucky you, you have that single Crocus. I’ve nothing. My snow has just finished melting. I can finally see the grass. Maybe soon I’ll be having lots of dandelion salad (LOL). For me snapping up some store-bought lasagna noodles is the way to go. I’m way too lazy, John. 40g basil? I have to find a farmers market. I love the sound of the pesto. I’m definitely gonna try it. Thanks for giving metric measures. I’ve never fully comprehended “a handful of herbs”. As soon as I get my hands on basil, I shall make this pesto and enjoy some snapped up lasagna noodles. Thanks John for being so patient. I shall visit you again, tomorrow. Enjoy the week. Temperatures are lovely but slowly turning into freezing rain and snow in the afternoon. What a mess! Warm regards to Max. Best wishes!

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  45. I need to buy a pasta machine, first of all. This recipe is truly intriguing. I loved the pistachio pesto: this is the first time I am hearing about a pesto with pistachio nuts. I generally make it with pine nuts. But making the pesto with pistachios makes more sense in India, as pine nuts are really not easily available and pistachios are very common here. Your pasta looks delicious! That lamb shank picture is going to make me more greedy!

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  46. Hello crocus! How lovely to have the first one out on your lawn, John – that must have brought a smile. I love the back stories you always have to share with your recipes. We used to make pasta regularly and my kids loved all of the different shapes and the whole messy process. Such a fun thing to do. I’ve never tried pistachios in pesto, but I frequently use walnuts in a chard pesto when we’re in the growing season. I’ve got Genovese and Red Opal basil growing on my window sill and think I’ll try your recipe with the pistachios!

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    • Thank you so much, Dimple. This just doesn’t taste good but it’s relatively inexpensive, as well. If pine nuts get any more expensive, we’ll be buying them individually. 🙂

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  47. Mr. N would certainly love the pistachio pesto (Mike too). Mr. N though – he’d devour it and ask for it on the pasta, on flat bread, etc. for days. The pasta looks great and you know it wouldn’t take long to eat it all here. I’ve been known to put away 1/2 lb. to 3/4 lb. of pasta in one sitting – thus why I can’t have it on our menu too often. No self control with pasta I tell you. None. Thanks for the breaking lasagna noodle idea. That’s a great time saver!

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    • I, too, have no self-control when it comes to pasta, Kristy. I used to make enough for my supper, with some left over for the next day’s lunch. Well, good in theory but bad in execution. Somehow, by the time I went to bed, “lunch” would disappear, forkful by forkful. This pesto is great for a change. The parsley and pistachios give it a slightly different flavor and a welcome change.

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  48. Pingback: A Tale of Two Pizzas | from the Bartolini kitchens

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