Probably everyone can itemize a couple of dishes each corresponding to a certain phase in life. To me, the food that is reminiscent of long-gone student life, for instance, would be one particular pasta dish served at the bistro across the faculty building. This eatery still exists, and several overhauls of its menu later, so does this dish, which goes by the name of Pasta Galberto.
I, however, no longer eat out at this place (there’s a time and place for everything). Or actually I did a couple of months ago, when some friends and I on a hot summer evening out of nostalgia took a trip down memory lane to this place. I did not order Pasta Galberto, though, as it’s not vegan. Instead, I went for the “Greek salad, without the feta but with extra olives and dolmades, please”. I did not have to order Pasta Galberto for nostalgia’s sake either, since I’ve been recreating the vegan version of this dish at home for many, many years. It’s simple, it’s quick, it’s extremely tasty, and the entire household always goes for seconds. Win-win on all levels, in other words. And in fact, I actually prefer my own version to the over-oily archetypal one.
- 350g spaghetti
- a handful pine kernels
- 2 cups chopped tomatoes (use fresh ones, whichever type you like – here I used yellow, orange and red cherry tomatoes)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 4 cups string beans (I always use the frozen kind)
- 1 – 1,5 cups green pesto (organic stores usually carry jars of vegan green pesto, but if you’ve got fresh basil and (pine) nuts at hand , you can easily make your own)
- salt and crushed black pepper
Bring water to a boil and cook the pasta. You can add the string beans to the boiling water, or you can choose to add them to the skillet in the following step: the choice is yours!
In a skillet, toast the pine kernels. When golden, transfer to a plate. Now sauté the finely chopped tomatoes, adding the garlic and string beans, unless you’re boiling the latter together with the spaghetti. Bring to taste with salt and pepper.
When the pasta and green beans are both al dente, drain the pasta, return to the cooking pot, and coat the pasta with the green pesto. Next, add the skillet’s ingredients to the pasta pesto. Serve and garnish with the toasted pine nuts.