Ligurian pasta sauces: Pesto and so on!

467
10
Joined Jan 11, 2002
Hi everyone!
As I said everywhere, Ligurian cooking is mainly a vegetarian one (not a fish-based one as you could imagine). Suppose that everybody here knows Pesto very well...but maybe you aren't so informed about Nut Sauce, which is the other great ligurian vegetarian pasta sauce. So, there are the "classic" recipes:

PESTO
Ingredients, serve 6
About 45 basil leaves
1 handful shelled pine seeds
1-2 garlic cloves (according to your taste)
1 pinch cooking salt
1 1/2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 tbsp freshly grated Pecorino cheese (the matured type, NOT fresh!)
Extravergine olive oil

In the traditional recipe, you're supposed to use the mortar...but nowadays all the housewives use a food processor, so there's no need to be too strict! ;)
So, put in the food processor the basil, garlic, salt and pine seeds and process until smooth, gradually adding some oil. When creamy, add the cheese and process again for few seconds. The result MUST be smooth and creamy! You must not see any piece, even the smallest one, in your pesto. If so, process it more.
You can keep your Pesto in the fridge only for few days, but it can be easily frozen.
The only real problem you may have is the quality of basil. Unluckily, American basil isn't just the same as Ligurian one (to my palate it tastes a little- EHM- like soap...) but since you're obviously used to yours, never mind!
Apart from pasta dishes, Pesto is wonderful with minestrone, both hot and warm (a delicious estive dish) and on your Pizza!

Something more unusual?

SALSA DI NOCI

Ingredients:
1 lb walnuts
1/2 oz shelled pine seeds
6 tbsp extravergine olive oil
1/2 garlic clove
salt
fresh chopped marjoram (optional)


Shell the nuts and plunge the kernels in boiling water for a while to peel them. Process them in a food processor with the pine seeds, salt and garlic, gradually adding the oil, to a smooth cream. Season with some pepper if you like. About the use of mortar...see above!

This sauce is traditionally used with two typical Ligurian pastas: Trofie (sort of noodles, made with plain or chestnut flour)) and Pansoti (vegetarian ravioli), but it's also good for Lasagne or Tagliatelle.

Enjoy!

Pongi
 
1,389
13
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Pongi.

I didn't know that Pesto comes from Liguria.

All I know is that every October my Basil Forest is transformed into this green elixir :)
This Pecorino touch must make the difference.

In fact now I am having for dinner a piece of bread with pesto sauce as spread :)

I hope that you came in the Forum to stay :)

Marco Polo was from Genoa, right? or it was Venice?
 
467
10
Joined Jan 11, 2002
Obviously my doubts about non-Ligurian basil don't concern you! Greek basil must be delicious...
Marco Polo was from Venice, but also Genoa people were skilful sailors, merchants and travellers (in fact, Venice and Genoa were the two main "Sea Republics") and had a tight contact with Middle Eastern populations, whose traces can be still found in Genoa dialect and cooking!
An example is just that nut sauce...don't you have something like that? I remember I had in Greece a nut sauce with fried mussels, isn't it? As I've read in a book, the original recipe moved from Persia to the Mediterranean area and Slav countries... being Italian, we obviously adopted it for pasta!
BTW...could you tell me more about the Greek version?;)
Thanks!

Pongi
 
1,389
13
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Pongi.

Do you mean the sauce with nuts ( yes!) and much garlic?
If you had this garlic sauce and it had nuts in, then you must have eaten in a pretty good place in Greece :)

BTW We are not Slavs :)
Just ...nuts Greeks :)

Let me know about this sauce!
 
467
10
Joined Jan 11, 2002
Yes, nuts...more garlic than our sauce...oil, suppose...probably soaked and mashed bread (at least, I had this impression). Was it skordalià? In any case, it was delicious...
BTW: really you're not Slavs?:D
To tell the truth, I also had in mind another recipe, the Circassan (sp?) chicken, which I have found in both Russian and Turkish cookbooks..maybe you know what I mean: boiled chicken, cut in stripes and served with a nut sauce that seems a close relative of "our" sauces.
More info?

Pongi
 
1,389
13
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Cute, very cute...

I would reply to that but I am busy hunting down american sauces with lumps lately ;)

For the recipe, check the new thread

:) :) :)
 
1,389
13
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Pongi since you mention basil I want to tell you something very strange about Basil and Greece.

Every single house or public edifice -even the Presiden't residence- has a pot of Basil during the summer.

There is not a single Greek recipe that contains basil though...
I wondered why this happens.
The only reason I am thinking of, is that basil has a very importanty role in the rituals of the Greek Ortodox Church.

Any other ideas???

:)
 
3,853
12
Joined May 26, 2001
Could it be along the same lines as all the rosemary I saw growing along the sides of streets and in medians once when I was in California? They couldn't possibly use it for cooking after it picked up all those exhaust fumes -- but when the sun warmed it up, it gave off the most wonderful aroma and scented the air. Maybe the gardeners among us would have some idea.
 
467
10
Joined Jan 11, 2002
Don't know about the basil growing in Greece...but can remember the Californian basil and, as I said, it's completely different from Ligurian, being much more an ornamental type than an edible one. Although the Ligurian weather is warm, our basil grows exclusively in greenhouses, never in the open, and the plants are smaller, with particularly tender and sweet leaves. Also the shape of leaves is different. Apart from that, can't say what comes first...I mean, if we selected this basil for the Pesto purpose (and you Greeks, clearly being much more spiritual, another type for a religious purpose... :) ) or if we were simply led to put it in our dishes by its characters!

What's your opinion?

Pongi
 
1,389
13
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Well this question is bothering me years now and it must be answered!!!!!That's it!!

Pongi let's open a new thread about basil in Garden's Forum.
Many people that knows many things about plants read this forum exclusively.

In the mean time ...
Oh no! I will tell you in the new thread

:)
 

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