The cocina peruana includes not only Chinese influence but also reflects the cuisine of Peru’s Italian immigrant community. A number of traditional Italian recipes have been fused into the Peruvian palette such as this plate of savory green noodles.
The tallarines verdes are simply spaghetti, but a bit wider than the ones we find here, bathed in an exquisite green Peruvian sauce inspired by classic Italian pesto. Each grandmother has her own little secret recipe, for example some use a native nut instead of traditional pine nuts which classic pesto requires. In addition, the original recipe calls for evaporated milk and not the lighter whole milk which I use in my recipe. My goal is to try to save calories without skimping on the flavor. Generally, tallerines is served with a breaded thin piece of meat, similar to a churasco. The truth be told…they are so delicious that one eats them without thinking and I like to serve them with something more delicate to balance the flavor, such as shrimp or scallops on the grill. Even fish or chicken make a perfect combination.
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I will never forget the day that the beautiful little girl Allegra, daughter of my friend Barbie Serrano, bathed herself in these green noodles. She ate them with such gusto that her little brightly smiling green face made me dedicate this recipe to her, hence the name Tallarines Verdes de Allegra. Children will love them and they are easy to prepare. I hope you have fun cooking and remember my motto: The Kitchen Doesn’t Bite!
PERUVIAN GREEN SPAGHETTI
1 lb spaghetti
5 oz fresh spinach
4 oz fresh cheese
2 garlic cloves
2 TBSP of grated parmesan cheese
½ cup whole milk
1 oz fresh basil
Grated carrots or peas optional
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Fill a deep pot with water, bring a boil and add salt. Add the pasta to the water and cook until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the spinach. Bring a second pot of water to the boil and add the spinach. Blanch only 30-40 seconds or until the spinach wilts. Drain in a colander and immerse in a large bowl of ice water.
- Drain the spinach well and place in a blender with the rest of the ingredients. Blend until there are no lumps and the consistency is quite thick.
- When the pasta has finished cooking, drain well and reserve.
- In a large skillet, add the blended sauce and bring to a simmer. Taste and adjust the seasonings with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add the pasta and combine thoroughly with the sauce.
- Serve the pasta and sauce on warm plates, garnished with peas or grated carrot.
Learn more about Doreen Colondres.