Though Frances Mayes calls Italy home, her roots stretch to Southern soil. Born in Georgia, the globetrotting, multi-genre author studied in Virginia and Florida and now divides her time between her North Carolina home and her famed Under the Tuscan Sun villa in Cortona, Italy, where she and her husband produce Bramasole Olive Oil. “Excellent olive oil will transform your kitchen. I’ve learned to use it liberally and to count on its health properties as a bonus to Italian cooking,” Mayes writes in her new cookbook, Pasta Veloce, a dedication to the beloved carb and its versatility.
For this pesto recipe, you can substitute slivered almonds for the pine nuts, but don’t skip out on good extra-virgin olive oil. “This amount of pesto will sauce eight ounces of pasta, enough for four as a first course or two as a vegetarian main dish,” she writes. Mayes also reminds us that pesto’s possibilities transcend pasta: “Dab a little on pizza or baked tomatoes stuffed with rice, on grilled chicken, in vegetable soups, or spread it on bruschetta.”
After whipping up this pesto, check out Mayes’s BLT Spaghetti and Farfalle with Roasted Asparagus, Lemon Cream, and Chives. For more from the queen of wanderlust, read her love letter to the magnolia and G&G’s recent interview with her about her book A Place in the World, in which she invites you into her Southern and Italian estates. And of course, order her new cookbook, Pasta Veloce, here.