Sorry for the lack of posts this week but the princess has been sick and we had a wedding yesterday so it’s been busy, busy! We’ve been so lucky with the princess as this was her first time being sick, she hasn’t even had a cold. She had some sort of viral infection with really high temperatures and didn’t take too well to being sick! She’s all back to normal now and has resumed to taking the sky card out of the sky box and pulling the grate out of the fireplace every 5 minutes so she’s definitely better:)
My stat counter is also not working which is really annoying because it is telling me that I have no hits basically. Obviously when you have a blog it is nice to know that people are actually reading it and how many so I feel a little lost without it:( I always have to something to complain about don’t I, actually while I’m at it, my wireless still isn’t working so I’m still sitting on the stairs with the numbest _ _ _!!!!;0
So, back to the task at hand – “PESTO“, where do I start?? I have admitted before that the first time I had pesto about 13 years ago I hated it. I wouldn’t mind but Bru’s mom is from Genova so this lady knows how to make pesto. She always serves it Genovese style with Trofie or Linguine, french beans and potatoes. When we opened La Cucina first we couldn’t sell it at all and now we make it 3 times a week using 1kg of basil each time. I’d love to tell you that we make it with a pestle and mortar but that’s not possible with large amounts so the food processor is used. To be honest I think a lot of people shy away from making pesto as they think it needs to be made the traditional way but it turns out perfectly fine with the food processer – sorry to all you Italian foodie purists!!
Speaking of food purists, Giorgio Locatelli actually gets his basil flown over from Italy for his restaurant. He says the most important thing about basil is the size of the leaf. The perfect leaf is tiny and the best is from Liguria where most of the commercial pesto production in Italy is based in a village called Pra so that’s where he gets it from, now that’s commitment. We buy ours from our local veg supplier but if you are making it at home I wouldn’t buy those little packets. Buy one of the little pots, re-pot it and place on the windowsill in the kitchen and let it grow for a couple of weeks. To keep the growth full and the flavour of the leaves sweet, keep it trimmed by cutting off the flower at the top of the plant. I love the smell of fresh basil, we try to pick the leaves out the front of La Cucina as the smell is so strong and aromatic, all our customers always comment on it when they come in.
Everyone has their own way of making pesto and Italians are very proud and some quite secretive about their method. The principle ingredients are always the same – basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. Some recipes use pecorino, some say to toast the pine-nuts or substitute with walnuts or almond, some don’t use pine nuts or garlic etc etc
Bruno’s mom taught us how to make it so we do it her way! We do it in large batches as I mentioned so I’m going to give you the amounts for a smaller batch from Carluccio’s Complete Italian Food.
WHAT YOU NEED:
- 45g fresh basil leaves – use the smaller ones if you can(45g sounds a little small to me, I’d have some extra on standby. I never weigh so I’m not sure. 100-200g sounds more like it?
- 25g pine nuts – toasted if you can.
- 2 garlic cloves
- 55g grated Parmesan cheese
- 125ml olive oil- it’s recommended to use Ligurian extra-virgin olive oil if you can get your hands on it.
- pasta – we normally have penne, linguine, trofie or in this case fusilli for a change.
WHAT TO DO:
– put the oil, garlic and pine nuts into a food processor and add your basil leaves a few at a time and work them in as quickly as you can until you have a paste.
– add your cheese and salt to taste and you should end up with a bright green paste. The quicker you bring the whole thing together, the less heat you will generate and this will keep the bright green colour. We keep ours in an stainless steel bowl and pour in lots of olive oil to keep it and store it in the fridge.
p.s. at long last I have set up an email so if any of you want to ask any questions regarding any of the recipes or contact me for anything it’s firstname.lastname@example.org