The most famous Italian pesto is made with fresh basil and is a traditional Genoese dish. In Italy, however many variations exist of this lovely condiment.
My mother, for example, prepares a delicious rocket pesto made with pine nuts and Parmesan, using the plants she has in the garden. Today I am going to share this lovely recipe, but instead of pine nuts I am using a few hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds.
Pesto is a very healthy condiment that you should definitely have in your fridge.
The rocket leaves are rich in vitamin C and also contain potassium, iron, calcium and phosphorus. They have a slightly bitter peppery flavour, which I love.
1. Making pesto is very easy. Use an immersion blander and mix all the dry ingredients first and then add the extra virgin olive oil at the end. Add just a couple of tablespoons of iced water with the dry ingredients when you first use the blender, because this will cool the blades down and avoid ruining the leaves.
2. In the traditional Genoese pesto recipe we use Parmesan cheese and Pecorino Sardo. You can buy both cheeses nicely-aged, which is important because they have a distinctive strong taste. However, if you can’t find aged Pecorino Sardo you can replace it with Parmesan. Both these cheeses are quite salty, so it is very important to put just a pinch of salt in the recipe, then you can always add it at the end, if needed.
3. In order to get a creamier pesto, when you cook the pasta you can dilute your condiment with a couple of tablespoons of cooking water (the water in which the pasta is cooking), just before serving.
Rocket (Arugula) Pesto.
Preparation: 10 minutes
For a cup of pesto
1/2 clove of garlic
60 g (2.11 oz) rocket (arugula), washed
30 g (1.05 oz) aged Parmesan cheese, cut into small pieces
30 g (1.05 oz) aged Pecorino Sardo cheese
6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
2 walnuts, shelled
2 almonds, shelled
2 hazelnuts, shelled
a pinch of salt
pepper to taste
1. In a tall container, put all the ingredients, without the extra virgin olive oil.
2. Using an immersion blender, chop the ingredients for a few minutes, adding just a little bit of iced water to cool the blade in the process.
3. Pour in the extra virgin olive oil (a little at a time) and blend everything together, until you get a creamy mixture.
4. Serve with your favourite pasta.
Pesto di rucola.
Preparazione: 10 minuti
Per un vasetto
1/2 spicchio d’aglio
60 g di rucola, lavata e asciugata
30 g di parmigiano reggiano (tagliato a pezzi piccoli)
30g di pecorino sardo stagionato (tagliato a pezzi piccoli)
6 cucchiai d’olio extra vergine d’oliva
2 noci, senza guscio
2 nocciole, senza guscio
2 mandorle, senza guscio
un pizzico di sale
1. In un contenitore alto e stretto mettete tutti gli ingredienti, senza l’olio.
2. Usando un frullatore ad immersione, tritate per qualche minuto gli ingredienti, aggiungendo un po’ d’acqua molto fredda, per evitare che la lama si scaldi.
3. Versate anche l’olio extra vergine d’oliva nel composto (poco alla volta e continuando a tritare), fino ad ottenere una consistenza cremosa.
4. Condite la pasta e servite.