Spaghetti with Pesto Trapanese & the KOHLER Food and Wine Experience

So I have been doing a lot of traveling lately, it’s been fun and I have been eating a ton of good food including this Spaghetti with Pesto Trapanese dish. It’s seriously wonderfully, easy (less than 15-20 minutes to put together) and I call it Italian comfort food. Thanks to Lidia Bastianich for this recipe!

But before I share the recipe, I want to share a little bit about the KOHLER Food & Wine Experience, where I had this wonderful dish. I was completely floored when I was invited to this event…

You know KOHLER? The plumbing folks – the company that makes those really neat faucets, sinks and even toilets? Yeah those people…well they have a Five Star resort in KOHLER, Wisconsin. Who knew? And yes, there’s a town called KOHLER too!

The hotel rooms are very nice and remind me of an old world feel. The service amazing – everyone is willing to help you at the drop of a hat at The American Club and the attention to detail is amazing.

And since I’m telling you about KOHLER’s resort, The American Club. I had to show the shower. I just love that body spray – I wish I had that in my shower at home. Can you see the rainfall shower head on the ceiling too?

Every October in KOHLER, Wisconsin, they hold the KOHLER Food & Wine Experience. Tons of amazing chefs gather to make amazing food for attendees and there is a LOT of amazing wine to be had.

I met up with Sommer, who was also invited, and we treked over to the main stage to see Lidia Bastianich’s demo. This is where I had her amazing spaghetti with pesto trapanese. The pesto’s main ingredient is tomatoes – not basil! If you ever get a chance to see Lidia speak, do it. She’s incredibly warm and inviting. She’s as real as real gets.

Then, we made the trek to go eat at the River Wildlife’s Lodge – when I called to ask them for a reservation, they told me the directions to the lodge were park in the parking lot and then walk through the woods. Have you ever walked through the woods to go to a restaurant before?

It’s a cute little place that has amazing food. My pictures kind of sucked so I won’t share them with you but the stuffed beef tenderloin I had was to die for. I hope I get to return to this gem of a place soon!

I had breakfast at The Wisconsin Room. The most amazing crab oscar benedict that had this light tomato caper hollandaise sauce. It was awesome! I totally want to recreate this at home!

Next up, I went to the Craverie – a chocolatier cafe owned by KOHLER where they make handmade chocolates!

I had the world’s largest sea salt caramel latte and I look like a goober right? Thanks to Sommer for taking this shot on my iPhone!

KOHLER has these new chocolates, eggnog, gingerbread and pecan pie. Just in time for the holidays. The pecan pie ones were my favorite! 

And I took home some wonderful terrapin chocolates with me. I can’t even tell you which one was my favorite and…I didn’t share.

I was pleased to get to attend the Celebrity Luncheon with Lidia. She was amazing, she said these words (that I actually tweeted), “Food is not a job, it’s the way I live.” I believe it. She just tells you like it is and her food is amazing.

What a wonderful experience and an amazing meal. My favorite? The butternut squash risotto that had blue cheese in it and a balsamic glaze on it!

I really can’t tell you about a favorite part of my weekend at KOHLER Food & Wine. It was a complete dream. I highly recommend this event…and I got to meet these guys!!

I was so excited…I’m not sure I really said anything of substance but they were so nice! Here’s me with Christopher Kimball, Bridget Lancaster and Jack Bishop of America’s Test Kitchen. If you don’t already watch their show on PBS, watch it!

And the grand finale for me – to cap off the weekend was the Champions Dinner at Whistling Straits. The dinner, each of the five courses and the wine pairings were out of this world. I would say one of the top five meals I have had in my life. Chef Dan Dries of Whisting Straits and the guys at Lancaster Estate did an amazing job. The wines were amazing, I’m adding them to my list and I hope I can find them at my local wine store here in Florida.

My favorites of the night were the seared sea scallop – perfectly cooked and my favorite wine? The Roth Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (2009), I’m not usually a red wine person but this wine might have just made me one! And did I mention one of the courses included a housemade duck prosciutto? To die for.

And the event was assigned seating, I had no idea who I would be seated with it was great company with great conversation.

All I can say is I miss KOHLER, Wisconsin and the American Club. I hope I get to make it back next year for the KOHLER Food & Wine Experience! (Yep that’s a Mutant Ninja turtle eyeballing my terrapin chocolates!)

I knew when I came home, I had to recreate Lidia’s pesto. It’s made with tomatoes and almonds and just a little bit of basil – not the regular basil you’re used to but it’s full of flavor and completely amazing. Add this to your list to make this year!

If you make any of recipes and decide to share them on instagram or twitter be sure to tag me @thelittlekitchn and use the hashtag #thelittlekitchenrecipes! I love seeing your posts and photos!

Spaghetti with Pesto Trapanese Recipe

Yield: Serves 4-6

The beauty and delight of this dish is that it is so fresh and clean-and it is a cinch to make. It's important to make the pesto with the best ingredients then just toss in the hot cooked spaghetti to coat it and enjoy. Recipe by Lidia Bastianich


¾ pound cherry tomatoes, very ripe and sweet

12 leaves fresh basil

⅓ cup whole almonds, lightly toasted

1 garlic clove, crushed and peeled

¼ teaspoon peperoncino

½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for cooking the pasta

½ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound spaghetti

½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated


Rinse the cherry tomatoes and pat them dry. Rinse the basil leaves and pat dry.

Drop the tomatoes into the blender jar or food processor bowl followed by the garlic clove, the almonds, basil leaves, peperoncino and 1/2 tsp salt. Blend for a minute or more to a fine purée; scrape down the bowl and blend again if any large bits or pieces have survived.

With the machine still running, pour in the olive oil in a steady stream, emulsifying the purée into a thick pesto. Taste and adjust seasoning. (If you're going to dress the pasta within a couple of hours, leave the pesto at room temperature. Refrigerate for longer storage, up to 2 days, but let it return to room temperature before cooking the pasta.)

To cook the spaghetti, heat 6 quarts of water, with 1 tablespoon salt to the boil in the large pot. Scrape all the pesto into a big warm bowl.

Cook the spaghetti al dente, lift it from the cooking pot, drain briefly, and drop onto the pesto. Toss quickly to coat the spaghetti, sprinkle the cheese all over, and toss again. Serve immediately in warm bowls.

Recipe published in Lidia's Italyby Lidia Bastianich

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A note: to toast the almonds, place them in an ungreased pan on medium heat for about 8 to 10 minutes.

Disclosure: Thanks to KOHLER Food & Wine for inviting me and sponsoring my trip to the event. I had a blast and of course share with you my honest opinions! And there’s an affiliate link in this post.

40 Responses to “Spaghetti with Pesto Trapanese & the KOHLER Food and Wine Experience”

  1. 1
    Dianna — November 7, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

    Who knew Kohler had so many amazing thing?! I already love Kohler products, but now I want to go visit them… especially that chocolate shop. Wow! Your pasta looks so good. Pesto is one of my favorite easy dishes, and I love to try new kinds {I’ve made avocado pesto, kale pesto, spinach pesto…} this one will have to be next on the list! :)


  2. 2
    Dianna — November 7, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

    *things. Silly typos. 😉


  3. 3
    Cassie | Bake Your Day — November 7, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

    What a cool experience. I love that you are getting to travel so much lately, and I love how you capture the trips! And this pasta – so amazing!


  4. 4
    Brian @ A Thought For Food — November 7, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

    Do you ever want to pinch yourself when you go to events like this? I know I do. Looks freakin’ fantastic, Julie!

    And can we talk about how I’m craving pasta now? So thanks for that. 😉


  5. 5
    Paula - bell'alimento — November 7, 2012 @ 6:12 pm

    What an amazing trip Julie. Looks like you had a blast! And that spaghetti. Che buono!


  6. 6
    Lindsay — November 7, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

    This is one of my favorite pastas, mainly because it’s just so gosh darn quick. Will definitely give Lidia’s recipe a try very very soon!


  7. 7
    Kiran @ — November 7, 2012 @ 6:53 pm

    Fun fun experience! It was so nice seeing your Instagram photos :)


  8. 8
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — November 7, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

    What an awesome experience! And this pesto looks fabulous :)


  9. 9
    Bev @ Bev Cooks — November 7, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

    I would have to meet that crew! They’re my faaaavorite.

    And trapanese pesto is my jam to the JAM.


  10. 10
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen — November 7, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

    I must have this pasta asap! What a fun event and I’m a little jealous that you got to hang out with Sommer!


  11. 11
    Jeanette — November 7, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

    What an awesome trip and so fun that you saw Sommer there! This pasta sounds fantastic and I love how big that cup of latte is!


  12. 12
    Diane (createdbydiane) — November 8, 2012 @ 1:12 am

    Oh Julie what a fun event.
    I just LOVE pasta and will have to make this really soon, like maybe in 5 minutes…you’ve made me so hungry!


  13. 13
    Tasha @ ThatsSoYummy — November 8, 2012 @ 7:31 am

    That sounded like such a fun time, that pasta looks delish… the way to my heart is through PASTA!


  14. 14
    Jen @ Savory Simple — November 8, 2012 @ 8:29 am

    Looks like a fabulous time!


  15. 15
    Sommer@ASpicyPerspective — November 8, 2012 @ 9:00 am

    Oh Julie, that pasta looks (was) amazing! It was go great to get to hang out–I’m posting next week about this experience. :)


  16. 16
    Carolyn — November 8, 2012 @ 10:02 am

    I had no idea there was a town or a resort!


  17. 17
    Brenda @ a farmgirl's dabbles — November 8, 2012 @ 10:17 am

    I’ve heard such wonderful things about the American Club, what a great trip! Love that big latte. :) And the spaghetti looks fab!


  18. 18
    Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies — November 8, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    Oh, this looks amazing Julie! So wish I was having this for lunch today. :) The trip sounds like it was such an awesome experience, and oh, those chocolates!


  19. 19
    Linda | The Urban Mrs — November 8, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

    Oh I can’t wait to try this – I have all the ingredients at home so I’m excited to have this for dinner. What a lovely experience and that shower is to die for! I promise to be nice next year so Santa can grant me that restroom. :) And chocolate look so amazing! That’s heavenly.


  20. 20
    Sandy @ RE — November 8, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

    Always love reading about your travels, Julie. And YUMMY recipe! :)


  21. 21
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell — November 8, 2012 @ 6:09 pm

    Oh Julie, that was such a luxury experience, and I’m so glad you soaked it all up and appreciated it as much as you did. And wow to that recreation. Just gorgeous!


  22. 22
    Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. — November 8, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

    that looks so amazing! I love the Kohler destination and golf OH MY


  23. 23
    addie | culicurious — November 9, 2012 @ 7:59 am

    This recipe looks great, Julie! And it sounds like you had an amazing time in Wisconsin! :) So jealz that you got to meet the folks from America’s Test Kitchen. That’s way cool!


  24. 24
    Angie — November 9, 2012 @ 9:55 am

    The event looks like so much fun! And your spaghetti recipe looks amazing too!


  25. 25
    Carlas Confections — November 9, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

    That looks like an amazing trip and the pesto looks so perfect! I would love to try that with some pasta. Im going to pin that one 😀


  26. 26
    claire @ the realistic nutritionist — November 9, 2012 @ 3:43 pm

    You are adorable. Just so cute. and I love that shower!!!


  27. 27
    shelly (cookies and cups) — November 9, 2012 @ 4:29 pm

    What a great trip! Everything looks gorgeous!
    I need that shower at my house.


  28. 28
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — November 10, 2012 @ 3:12 am

    Thanks for sharing your experience! It looks like you had such a great time! And I love that Mutant Ninja turtle figurine there. This pasta also looks amazing. Trapanese pesto is one of my favorites!


  29. 29
    Marly — November 12, 2012 @ 11:15 am

    OMG, you are so cute! I love the pic of you with the coffee…and with the Test Kitchen Guy! How cool is that! Looks like a great trip – thanks for sharing about it!


  30. 30
    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — November 12, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

    You’ve been on so many interesting trips lately! I don’t know how you still have time to blog. Nice. :)

    I love how simple this spaghetti is! It’s also really pretty.


  31. 31
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — November 13, 2012 @ 11:02 pm

    What a fun event and bonus that you an Sommer got to hang out!


  32. 32
    Shari-Tickled Red — November 15, 2012 @ 11:54 am

    You are too cute! Love all of the photos of your trip and delish recipe darlin’!! xoxo


  33. 33
    SALLY T. — November 21, 2012 @ 11:52 am

    I lived in Wisconsin~and went with my husband for lunch all the time~I loved the town of Kohler.I am so Proud of being a Wisconsonite:-) I now live in California~but miss my home state~where we have Happy Cows~and the Best Chesse~and the great cheese factories~much Talent comes from that State and of coarse the PACKERS.
    I would not be a true Wisconsin person if I did not mention that.
    Oh almost forgot to mention about the Golf Coarse~Womens and Mens PGA.


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  35. 34
    Lisa — November 25, 2012 @ 10:21 am

    This sounds like it will be my go-to pasta dish from now on. Thank you for sharing Julie!


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  37. 35
    natalie — January 3, 2013 @ 10:45 am

    I stayed at the American Club for a work conference in October – our reception was at the design center and I could NOT get over all the display kitchens and baths! I was devastated when I got back home… I told my other half that something was wrong with the shower. He goes “Oh no… What’s wrong with it??” to which I had to reply THERE AREN’T ENOUGH SHOWER HEADS!!! WHERE ARE ALL THE SHOWER HEADS?!?!

    and the Craverie?? So adorable! I loved their coffee too, perfect for a cold day


  38. 36
    Sheila — January 5, 2013 @ 2:13 pm

    Wow.. what a great experience.

    That recipe is on my list of “must try soon”. YUM


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  40. 37
    Sarah — July 22, 2014 @ 6:06 pm

    Can’t wait to try the recipe! Which wine would be a good pairing for the pesto?


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