Chef Alex Guarnaschelli at a public event.
The Simple Pasta Meal That Changed Alex Guarnaschelli's Life
By Elaina Friedman
Back in 2019, Food Network titan Alex Guarnaschelli told Insider about a simple, revelatory dinner she had at La Merenda, a tiny eatery in Nice, France.
She said, "It was an ethereal meal that changed my life." She praised La Merenda's food just as much as its atmosphere and hospitality.
The restaurant's limited seating, lack of a phone, and in-person reservation system are all part of its small-town charm, which is refreshing in this age of QR-code menus.
The real show-stopper of the evening was a plate of pesto pasta, whose open-kitchen preparation brought the chef to tears. "It was that good. And so simple," she recalled.
The pesto sauce that Guarnaschelli remembers so fondly is, according to Afar, a Provençal version called pistou. This French pesto is made with basil, garlic, and olive oil.
La Merenda's chef, Dominique Le Stanc, has a penchant for simplicity, but his version of pistou was likely made with high-quality basil, garlic, and olive oil.