I’d almost forgotten about the joys of fresh pesto. Basil from the garden, beautiful fresh Italian organic olive oil and top notch Parmigiano cheese, combined with some rich nuts and you’re in pesto heaven.
I forget about the classics of pasta and pesto, bread dipped in pesto etc etc, during the cooler months but once my basil begins to flourish I’m away to the kitchen to make vast quantities, some for the fridge and some for the freezer, shame it never stays there long enough to last me over the winter – goes to show how good it really is though.
It’s with thanks to my Italian friend Carla that I have rediscovered this delight, Carla was apparently given this recipe on her travels to the Trapani area of Sicily, an area of Italy I would very much like to visit one day.
This Sicilian pesto differs from what many consider the ‘typical’ pesto – Pesto alla Genovese, (from the region of Liguria), in that almonds are used instead of pine nuts and tomatoes are added too. The verb pestare means “to stomp on,” or to crush, and therefore the word pesto describes a process more than a product.
I didn’t have any tomatoes I was willing to part with for this, they were reserved for a salad later that day so instead I used a little sun-dried tomato paste. It worked very well indeed, although, I do still want to try the original version and use fresh tomatoes; maybe next time.
The almonds seem to give this a slightly creamier, less sharp flavour than pine nuts do. A lovely, fresh and vibrant change.