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It has been a strange summer, long, warm, dry; on the professional front, a busy summer, plenty of new projects, cooking classes, private dinners, shopping for food made twice in a day, recipes writing , mails.
A crazy period, sometimes caothic and stressful, interrupted just for 10 days, the time for a long drive home.
Sicily. Roots. Familiar places, people, smells.
During this break, I received a special gift: 2 nights in Mosè.
I read about this special place trough Simonetta Agnello Hornby words, one of my favourite writers.
For a while I thinked Mosè was the fruit of the author immagination. An ancient mansion in the Sicilian coutryside, built in 1800s, that has been summer house for fifth generations of the Agnello family children.
Later, I discovered that Mosè is real, Chiara Agnello is there and with her informal and genuine style welcomes relatives and occasional guests,like me.
Mosè is not a fancy place, it’s a real “agriturimo”, it’s the right place where you can swicht off your phone and forget the rest of the world, enjoying a little walk though the centenary olive trees or a dinner al fresco cooked by Chiara, in a relaxed and informal atmophere.
I spent there just two nights, not too much for me, enough to decide that I will back, maybe during the low season, when it will be easier to have more time free,just for me.
Maybe the weather will be colder, I don’t care, I will spend more time chatting with Chiara, waiting for the arrival of the freshly hardversted veggies… maybe cooking togethere a sicilian dish.
This never ending summer gave me plenty of fresh basil, rosemary, salvia and peppermint that are still growing vigorously and maybe a little bit disoriented by this crazy weather.
I never want to waste ingredients, so I decide to prepare a Chiara's recipes: pesto povero, poor pesto.
I prepare lot of pesto during my cooking class. I always explain to my guests that the basil pesto recipe that they ask to learn during the lesson is just the most famous, the Ligurian one, but we have several variations of this recipe.
"pesto" is a generic word, coming from "pestare", to pound, and it's referred to the traditional way to prepare this delicious condiment, pounding the herbs and nuts in the mortar.
In Sicily we prepare a delicious pesto with basil, tomatoes and almonds, but nowdays you find modern versions with arugula (rocket ), zucchini, sundried tomatoes and black olives.
I don't know why Chiara defines this pesto "poor", maybe for the absence of cheese, an inusual thing.
Anyway I absolutly love it! It's less fat and heavy than the other pesto I have tried before, so parfumed and refreshing.
Here the recipe
1 cup basil leaves - 1/4 cup parsley leaves - 4 big sage leaves - 1 tablespoon rosemary needles - 1 tablespoon mint leaves - half teaspoon lemon zest - 1 small tomatoe (skin and seeds) - 1 small garlic clove - 6 almonds - 1 pinch of salt - ground pepper to taste - 5 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil.
If you want to prepare the pesto using the traditional method you will need a marble mortar with a wooden pestle. Start pounding almonds and garlic, then add gradually salta and all the herbs, lemon zest, extra virgin olive oil.
Using a blender you can pulse all the ingredients together; just be careful do not mix too much as the sauce has a grainy consistency.
You will obtain enough sauce for 4 dishes of pasta, just remeber to keep half glass of pasta cooking water and toss all the ingredientsin a large bowl, adding some parmesan or pecorino cheese. Enjoy!