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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Basil & Toscana  Saporita Cooking School

A couple of years ago, my friend Prudence and I spent a week at the Toscana Saporita Cooking School in Tuscany, which is  owned by Chef Sandra Rosy Lotti. Among the many wonderful dishes we were taught was a delicious Pesto alla Genovese. According to Sandra, the dish wouldn't taste quite the same when made in the U.S. because Americans use older growth basil.  At the time I thought this was a bit chauvinistic.  However, I made a batch of Pesto today using tiny Basil Genovese seedings, from seeds sown two weeks ago. 

I was surprised at the difference, viz., sweeter, less bitter & a brighter green in color. I am convinced!  Below is Sandra's recipe:

Recipes by Sandra Rosy Lotti
Copyright 1999
Pesto alla Genovese
Making the authentic Pesto alla Genovese is very easy BUT you will need a marble mortar and a wooden pestle.The reason is because the consistency of the real pesto is coarse and not very smooth. If you do not have these two precious tools…well, use your food processor!! Add everything together and pulse until you have  a creamy texture. Pesto can be refrigerated in a Tupperware container or it can be frozen in a ziploc bag or Tupperware container. It keeps in the freezer  for up to 6 months.
3 cups of  sweet basil leaves,  (about 60 leaves) rinsed, stems removed (do not use large leaved basil, it is too strong in flavor and too taugh)  
1/2 cup raw pine nuts ( gr 100)
2 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil ( 675 ml )
1 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano (gr 125)
3 cloves of garlic
1 pinch of salt
Place everything in a food processor an pulse until you have a creamy texture. 

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