Thursday, June 22, 2017

Traditional Trofie al Pesto Genovese

I've yet to blog about my trip to Genoa (Genova in Italian) and I can't wait to share it to you. Apart from that, I'm already drafting my take on true-blue Italian gastronomy.  But I want to bring it to you a little at a time, just like how Italians enjoy their meal.

So, on our trip to Genoa, the top-most thing that really made a mark on me was their love for their own pesto.

Pesto, my family's cherished pasta sauce, originated in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy. From time immemorial, it has always been prepared with crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and and sometimes with Fiore Sardo, a cheese made from sheep’s milk

Hence, I didn't make a second thought on buying one for ourselves and for my friends.  Above is a stall found at the famous port, Porto Antico, that sells organic pesto and pesto-flavored chips.  We only bought the chips only to try it, as the pesto jars sells for 5 Euros each and I just bought some for lesser amount.

Now, I'm thinking, I could probably open a business like this in the future, who knows.

But before that happens, let me share you a recipe I did a couple of days ago that encapsulates that experience.

Another traditional local product which I brought home from Genoa is trofie.

Trofie is another kind of pasta, but short and twisted shape.

In this classic version of pesto, the basil leaves are blanched in boiling water, then quickly shocked in ice water, to give the sauce a brilliant green hue and to reduce any bitterness.

More than a sauce, pesto is said to be an icon of cultural identity in Liguria. Just as historically wealthy Bologna has its meaty ragu, slowly simmered to sweetness with rich meat, milk, and wine, Liguria has its divinely aromatic, born of poverty and a resulting dependence on vegetables and gathered greens—uncooked, quick, meatless, economical.

BTW, the word pesto comes from the verb pestare, which means to step on, or to pound, traditionally in a deep marble mortar using a wooden pestle. Today, the blender is the usual tool of choice, but for those of a certain age in Liguria, the mere sound of pestle striking mortar evokes memories of childhood.

Pesto Genovese


4 cups packed basil, blanched briefly in boiling water and shocked in ice water
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup finely grated parmesan
1⁄4 cup pine nuts
3 tbsp. finely grated pecorino
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Coarse sea salt, to taste


Process basil, oil, parmesan, pine nuts, pecorino, and garlic in a food processor until smooth; season with salt.

There are other variations of these.  Ligurians also put cubed tomatoes on their pesto pasta and aside  from trofie, they also have corzetti or pasta coins which sadly, I wasn't able to buy...


Gastronomy by Joy's Pesto Recipe

1 comment:

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