Italian cooking is very regional. Each region has its own specialities. Some dishes are world famous, like pizza, pasta e pesto.
You will often find pesto in recipes in other countries, it comes from Liguria, a coastal region with impenetrable tree covered hills rising steeply from the sea.
Olive groves and vineyards are planted on man made terraces and the region produces wonderful olive oil and wine. Pesto is traditionally made from pine nuts, basil leaves, garlic and parmesan cheese, all ground together and mixed with olive oil to form a smooth paste.
Here is a recipe from Liguria which will be found on any menu under the heading of Specialità Ligure, using a form of pasta called Trofei.
Trofei with pesto, potatoes and green beans.
50g Trofei per person
a handful of green beans per person
1 small potato per person
2 spoonfuls of fresh pesto per person
grated Parmesan cheese to serve
Bring a large saucepan of water to boil, add a teaspoon of salt and add the Trofei. They take about 20 minutes to cook.
Wash and top and tail the green beans and cut into small pieces.
Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes.
After 10 minutes add the green beans and the potatoes and continue cooking until everything is tender.
When cooked drain and then put the pesto in the saucepan with a small amount of olive oil.
Return the pasta, potatoes and beans to the saucepan and mix thoroughly.
Serve with grated cheese if liked.
Liguria being such a thin strip of land with so much that cannot be used inspired me to write a poem for you today.
How wonderful the hand of man
Works in harmony with Nature's plan,
Terraced vineyards, olive groves
Lemon trees jostling on the slopes,
The sea in the distance is bright blue
Everyone has a really good view,
A little village built on a rock
A shepherd wandering with his flock,
A pine tree growing through a wall
Bougainville growing tall,
The motorway roaring overhead
The river contained within its bed,
Nature needs a helping hand
For men to live in this precious land