So, here I am in Italy for a while. We have a little homestead here that is a perfect, get-away-from-it-all. However, it needs work and we are here for some time to give it a bit of TLC and make it more inviting for visitors.
Given the local fruit & veg markets, the genuine Artisan products available and the embarrassment of culinary richness accessible here, this is a perfect opportunity to get back to basics and start cooking from scratch.
Today I made some homemade pesto pasta mixed with beautiful sun-ripened tomatoes and some fresh, local mozzarella - for an even more nutritious and delicious dish, you could also add some wilted spinach.
½ a clove garlic
1 big bunch of fresh basil
1 handful of walnuts (or any other nut you like)
1 good handful of freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padana cheese
extra virgin olive oil
Peel the garlic, then pound in a pestle and mortar with a pinch of sea salt.
Pick, roughly chop and add the basil leaves, then bash to a paste (or pulse in a food processor).
Add the nuts (very lightly toast first, if you like) to the mixture and pound again, then stir in half the Cheese.
Stir in some oil – you need just enough to bind the sauce.
Add most of the remaining cheese, then season to perfection with salt and black pepper. Taste, and keep adding a bit more cheese or oil until you are happy with the taste and consistency.
Toss in chopped tomato, mozzarella & freshly cooked pasta of your choice