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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, October 3, 2007

From ship to shore: an Italian dish

By Carol Devenot

 •  Staying true to her (kitchen) self

While cruising the inland passage of Alaska, my boyfriend and I attended a cooking demonstration aboard the Sapphire Princess. The class was conducted by Master Chef Commendatore Alfred Marzi, who shared linguine al pesto alla moda ligure, a dish from his native Italy. His recipes are featured in the Princess Cruises cookbook, "A Culinary Courses Journey" (Princess Cruises, 2006).

The demonstration was followed by a tour of the galley and a visit with Marzi. Since the early 1970s, he has been working on transAtlantic ocean liners. He has been involved in supervising and directing official banquets in honor of the highest institutions and celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth II of England; the late Diana, Princess of Wales; President George Bush (the elder) and other dignitaries. Since 1975, he has been employed by Princess Cruises (famous for the TV show "The Love Boat"), responsible for the creation of all new menus, serving five million passengers a year. During the book signing, I asked his permission to use his recipes in my column. Without any reservation, he shook my hand and handed me his card. At that time I told him that we were going to lighten up his linguine al pesto.

My boyfriend was so impressed with the class that he decided to cook a dinner using the recipes from the cookbook. Chef Marzi's basil pesto calls for 1 1/2 cups of extra-virgin olive oil and 1 cup of pine nuts. As you can see, this is a lot of oil, good fat, but more calories. So we used vegetable stock in place of almost all of the olive oil, and just a small amount of pine nuts for richness.

This delicious meal brought back many fond memories of the trip. I now understand what the chef meant when he said "Cook with love!"


  • 1/2 pound red "new" potatoes, scrubbed and cut in halves

  • 1/4 pound fresh green beans, washed, trimmed and cut on diagonal

  • 3/4 pound organic whole-grain and flax linguine*

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


  • 2/3 cup vegetable or chicken stock

  • 2 to 3 cloves garlic

  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves

  • 1/3 cup low-fat Parmesan cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (which has a higher fat content)

  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts (toasted)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

    In a small saucepan combine the stock and garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Place in the refrigerator to cool.

    Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in simmering water until tender, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.

    Place the cooled stock with garlic, the basil, the cheese and the pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until pureed, pulsing on and off.

    Meanwhile, cook the green beans in a quart of briskly boiling water for about 6 minutes, just until bright green and crisp. Drain and plunge into cold water to keep them from overcooking.

    Cook the linguine according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

    In a large saute pan, combine potatoes, green beans and pasta and spoon a generous amount of pesto over the mixture, to coat it well (you may have some pesto left and can use that another day; keep refrigerated up to a week).

    Heat mixture through and adjust the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as desired. Place in a large warm bowl or platter and garnish with fresh basil.

    Serves 2 to 3.

  • Per serving: (based on 2 servings, without added salt): 920 calories, 22 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 10 mg cholesterol, 350 mg sodium, 147 g carbohydrate, 30 g fiber, 6 g sugar, 38 g protein

    Want a local recipe lightened up? Write Light & Local, Taste Section, The Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802; or taste@honoluluadvertiser.com. Carol Devenot is a Kaimuki-raised kama'aina, teacher and recipe consultant, and author of "Island Light Cuisine" (Blue Sea Publishing, paper, 2003). Learn more at www.islandlightcuisine.com.