Pesto alla Siciliana
Some things to note about the picture*:
1. I don’t know how on earth I’ve managed to lose weight since arriving in Italy, given that my dinner tonight consisted of fusilli, cheesy yummy sauce, a coke (bless you baby jesus), and all 4 truffles in the 4-pack of Ferrero Rondnoir (mmmmm…). Oh yes, and more cheese on top of the pasta.
2. I’ve committed several cardinal sins: by not having put down a tablecloth, placemat or napkin, I drank my coke out of a glass, there is a lack of bread, and I haven’t immediately cleaned every surface of the kitchen including my plate, run the dishwasher, and taken my coke can all the way down to the recycle bin upon completion of the meal.
3. I ate sauce out of a jar. Ok, I can explain this one. I’ve never heard of Pesto alla Siciliana. I feel like I would have noticed if it existed in America. Said jar was also only 2 euro. So, before looking up recipes and fucking them up, I figured I would try it first, and then go looking for recipes if I liked it.
3b. Note that said jar is a fourth of the size of the crappy tomato sauces we get in America. We use too much sauce, since a lot of types of pasta by themselves are crazy delicious.** This tiny jar is enough to feed 4-6 people! Also, it isn’t cooked. You just stir it in. One less pan to clean makes Daniel a happy pseudo-cook!
So, luckily I LOVED the sauce. Much like “regular” pesto, it has a bit of an addictive flavor. Plus you can impress all your friends when you show up with it, since it barely exists. Trust me, google it and see how many english language websites even mention it, let alone give a recipe.
While we are on the subject of googling. I learned many things about pesto. For example, “Pesto” is not the specifically green sauce (pesto genovese) that most of us know, but is the name of any sauce formed by crushing with a mortar and pestle (obviously a food processor these days). And, like all recipes, no one can agree on “the original.” Barilla’s, for example adds ricotta cheese for a creamier texture, and uses walnuts instead of pine nuts. This has basically become the standard since most jarred brands now make it this way. So I attempted to find one similar to the jar version. Even the old standby, Giada De Laurentis, let me down with her sun-dried tomato recipe. I much prefer Barilla’s addition of cheese and walnuts, and the lack of those tomatoes that taste like raisins… So, I combined a few recipes into what sounded delicious and not hard to make. Here it is:
Pesto alla Siciliana
1-2 cloves Garlic
1 large bunch of Basil
1/2 cup or so of Olive Oil
100 g of grated Parmesan
Pasta (your choice of course)
Salt and Pepper
50 g Pinenuts (or walnuts, or cashews, or all)
500 g Ripe Tomatoes (it doesn’t seem to matter what kind. If you want to use sun-ripened ones, feel free, but don’t invite me over.)
(parsley is optional)
Clean and wash the tomatoes, cut in half, and after removing the inner white part near the stem, squeeze to remove excess fluid and seeds, and then put them in a blender or food processor.
Gradually, add the washed and dried basil, nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese and olive oil, until you achieve the consistency you want. Add salt and pepper to taste. [Do not eat with Daniel’s extra 600 calories of extra sugar, as your carb coma may become permanent and it will be difficult to bring the glass of 1.50 euro wine up to your lips.]
* And, no, the Rated R post will not be explained within…
** For example: Ravioli doesn’t need sauce usually. Just toss it in some olive oil and salt and pepper, and maybe some cheese. Why bother to fill up the dumplings with tasty goodness when you are just going to douse them in tomato sauce?