Italian pesto is perhaps one of the most well known italian sauces. I bet that when you hear someone talking about pesto, you'd think about the green (or genoese) pesto, based upon basil and pine nuts, but today we'll bring you a different version of this most stasty sauce, we'll talk about "pesto alla trapanese", originated from the city of Trapani, west Sicily.
It is thought that this version of pesto was invented when the genoeses ships docked at Trapani when returning back from the East. In that way the idea of the pesto alla genovese started to break the new ground in Sicily, and there the local population decided to use the local excellences, like the great tomatoes and the almonds.
Traditionally, the pesto sauces has to be done with the mortar, and it's because of that way of making it that the pesto gets its name: from the italian word "pestare", that is "to mash". Generally speaking, every kind of pesto sauce has at least an ingredient in common, the basil! During the antiquity, they used spices to dress the food, the eastern spices that came from Venice through Constantinople, the so-called "Doors of the East". That spices were available at an high price, and so only the riches could afford them. That made the local poor population to start using the local ingredients they had in their lands, and it turbed out that it wasn't that bad too! With the medicinal or aromatic herbs they started to create the basic sauces we all know nowadays that dress our dishes. It is also said that the millenial recipe of the pesto was also one of the first sauces made with olive oil.
The recipe may vary according to your guests' preferences, of course, now it's just the right time to start try it to decide how we like it best!
Today I'll show you a version made with dried tomatoes, very tasty and easy!
- 80 g. of almonds
- 130 g. of dried tomatoes
- 100 g. of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (only the original, no "parmesan" allowed!)
- 10 or 15 basil leaves
- 1/2 spoonful of sea salt (to taste)
- 2 garlic fingers
- olive oil (to taste)
1- We put the dried tomatoes some 10 minutes in warm water, so to hydrate them a little bit.
2- Toss all the ingredients in a mixer, add some olive oil, more than a drizzle, and mix it all together. The quantity of olive oil it depends on the level of consistency we want to obtain, so we'll keep on mixing and drizzling olive oil little by little...and...there you are! Ready!
We can conserve it into the fridge for many days, and it may last even longer if we cover it with olive oil! Another idea to conserve it is to freeze it and to keep it at our disposal when we need it. I use to freeze it into ice cubes moulds, I put the pesto sauce into the mould and when I need it for my pasta dishes, there I have it! I've got actually ice cubes of all the colours heheh...I could tell you that time when someone when try to refresh his drink with an ice cube has had his drink with...a strange taste hehehe! But that's another history! ;)
The pesto alla trapanese is a very versatile sauce, you can use it in a coutless amout of dishes, or prepare it with different textures, as shown in the previous images. You can let it somewhat "drier", for instance to use it on a cruchy traditional bruschetta bread, you can use it as a filler, for fishes, meats, etc...etc...of course, do not forget to eat it with pasta! With pasta like orecchiette, spaghetti al nero di seppia or pasta con le sarde to me it becomes divine!
This kind of pesto is usually made with fresh tomato, that makes it different in texture, and needs less olive oil too, and it's pretty good too! Then we have the pesto alla siciliana, made with the yummy ricotta cheese (nomnom!), and many more other sauces that we'll discover in another occasion.
Come on, let's try all the variations! As my father used to say..."there is a place, somewhere in the World, where a room is filled with different sauces, one for each day of the year"...we should listen him!
Greetings and...put some sauce in your life! ;)