Friday, 6 June 2014

Pasta con Pesto, great for summer

Pasta con pesto originally comes from Liguria but it is popular everywhere in Italy. At this time of year you can grow fresh basil easily on your balcony or just buy a nice bunch from the greengrocer and use it straight away. Once you have tried homemade pesto you will never want the shop bought one again. It is a simple recipe that relies on good quality ingredients for its success. Today I bought some lovely fresh basil to plant on the balcony so I will be able to make it once a week throughout the summer. It also freezes very well so you can double the quantity.
Traditionally in Liguria pesto is used with trenette or linguine,but today used penne and it was still a hit. My Ligurian friends often put cubed raw potato and green beans cut into small strips in with the pasta to make a more substantial dish.

Pasta con pesto

Serves 4 - 6

300g linguine or trenette
80g Parmesan cheese,
About 30 fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
2 - 3 tbsp. pine nuts
half a cup of good quality olive oil
half clove garlic (optional)

Whizz the Parmesan cheese in a mini blender or mixer and then put aside in a bowl. Next put the basil leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, a sprinkle of salt and the garlic if using into the blender and whizz until creamy .Add the grated cheese and whizz briefly. Hey presto your pesto is ready. Put into a bowl and cover with clingfilm until ready to use. It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days otherwise it is best to freeze it.
If you want to make the typical Ligurian recipe, cut two potatoes and 100 g of French green beans into small pieces and cook together with the pasta. Drain and transfer to the saucepan together with the pesto. If it seems to dry add some of the cooking water and some more olive oil.

It is a great recipe for the summer and all you need to go with it is a mixed salad and maybe some anchovies on crostini as a starter.

Italian shopping

Everything ready to make pesto


pesto with salad and Sicilian melon

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