French in a Flash: Tagliatelle with Provençal Red Pistou

French In A Flash

Quick and easy recipes that prove that great French food doesn't require a tall hat and a fancy kitchen.


[Photograph: Kerry Saretsky]

In the south of France, everything is tagliatelle. I will never forget the first time I had this dish: June, a handful of years ago, outside at a table tucked away down a side alley in the little seaside town of Cassis. A breeze billowing through a humble tablecloth. The sky still lit, but casting only shadows. We had been travelling all day. I wanted something authentic, Provençal, but still familiar.

Out came a tangle of soft, flat pasta, wafting the scent of garlic like a cloud, flavored with smashed basil, oozing Parmesan, and the sweet, chewy tang of the plethora of Provençal sun-dried tomatoes that makes Provençal pistou what it is, and so different from the pestos we've come to know. It was humble and simple, but representative of the place where everything is tangled in garlic and tomatoes and herbs. For me, this dish is forever summer in Provence.

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Tagliatelle with Provençal Red Pistou »