When I was at university, my roommate’s parents went on a cooking tour in Tuscany. They came back with a sheaf of recipes and invited me to dinner to sample one of their new dishes – fettucine with artichokes. It didn’t look particularly impressive but the first forkful nearly made me cry with gratitude.
That dinner was one of the most memorable meals I’ve ever eaten. A large pottery bowl of pasta doused in a white wine and stock based sauce – garlicky and delicate at the same time, a gorgeous salad of mixed organic greens and olives drenched in an olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette, a loaf of sourdough bread, and an exquisite, crisp Italian Pinot Grigio. For dessert – a dark chocolate and raspberry tiramisu that melted in the mouth.
There was just one small problem. They had been told not to share the recipe and out of respect for the chef they agreed to keep it a secret. My roommate later gave me a very fast oral version of the recipe which went something like this, “1/4 cup each of butter and olive oil, a tiny bit of flour, garlic – lots of garlic, artichokes, lemon, white wine, chicken stock, and cheese – but don’t kill it with loads of crappy North American cheese. Maybe a few capers. Don’t ask me to repeat any of this.”
That was it – I wrote it down as fast as I could in my own crazy homemade version of shorthand trying to remember what she had said. And then I started experimenting and perfecting the quantities. I added a few things over the years – like sun-dried tomatoes. I changed out the chicken stock for organic vegetarian stock. I’ve tried adding chopped, cooked chicken – but much prefer it without. When I remember, I top it with chopped fresh parsley.
What resulted was a recipe that I’ve made so many times over the years that my family have dubbed it Fettucine Lindy. It is my all-time favourite dish. It’s simple, tasty, healthy and vegetarian. I like it best made with fresh pasta. In Kingston, we are fortunate to have the sweetest, most compact and adorable Italian deli, Pasta Genova, where they make their own fresh pasta and focaccia daily. I get my pasta there when I can but dried works too. I keep bottled artichokes and fettucine on hand always.
You can read more below in the Kingston Whig Standard’s review of A Taste of Wintergreen (click on the link below). The recipe is included at the end of the review. Eat it and weep.