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Pesto: how to do it, where to eat it, which to buy – Italian Cuisine


Divino pesto, green blood of basil, etymologically regal – because it means "plant worthy of King". Scent of simple, healthy and delicious cuisine. Perfume of Liguria, first of all, because the now international pesto comes from there, and only there grows the basil that makes the real pesto.

Of course the traditional recipe is the one in the mortar, and then there is the version for common human contemporary, the one that replaces the blades of the mixer with the pestle.

Here it is, the recipe:

169920For 3 people

2 bunches of strictly Genoese basil

1 clove of garlic (remove heart)

30 grams pine nuts

20/30 gr Sardinian pecorino (less if strong)

40/50 gr Parmesan cheese

EVO oil q.b.

Salt to taste.

Wash quickly and dry the basil (you can centrifuge it in the salad bowl), so that it does not lose the fragrance. Remove the core (the internal shoot) from garlic and break it into 4 or 5 pieces. Put in the blender or in the kitchen mixer garlic, basil, half pine nuts, a little 'mix of cheeses and a little' oil. Continue adding the ingredients by chopping at low speed to the right consistency, leaving last a little pine nuts so that it remains track to the palate of some micro piece: so you will get creamy consistency with something rustic.

Pesto à porter

And regarding i pest in jar? First of all, forget those of the big brands. The Genoese now eat mainly that of Pastificio Novella – which since 1903 produces in Sori, the second village overlooking the sea, continuing on the Aurelia to the east after the end of the urban territory. It is good in taste and is conveniently located in large retailers, throughout Liguria and partly on Piedmont, Lombardy and Tuscany. The basil is Genoese PDO but the olive oil, and not extra virgin. Then Grana Padano DOP, pine nuts, salt, garlic. Among the small artisanal producers, which ship all over Italy, stands out that of the Bottega del Pesto, really good. Small production in the eastern city, pioneer of the online selling (since 2001), each jar is closed by hand, complete with a stamp from the two hearts that declares: "FRESH BASIL – Collected & worked within 24 hours". The only flaw: it shows only Parmesan and not pecorino (like Novella, on the other hand). On the pecorino cheese the pesto Sacco is strong, which even uses the Fiore Sardo DOP. A little 'less well on other fronts, despite the basil of Prà …

Basil and pine nuts, something to know …

169923The basil it's that of Prà, the now well known delegation of the Genoese Ponente, where it is said that the best basil for the preparation of pesto is growing. Not always. Without taking anything away from the basilica of Prà, we would miss (in the neighborhood there is also a Park dedicated to the perfumed seedling), we report a conversation between a customer and a merchant who took place recently in a market of artisanal producers has been reported. She: "But is the basil of Prà?" – He: "Madam, we hope not!". In other areas of Genoa and in the eastern Levante, cleaner air and sweet sun can nourish a perfect and fragrant basil. The imported one is that to small leaves, without an olfactory trace of mind. The Genoese onein short, that only grows in the shadow of the Lantern … And that it's fresh: discounted? Not at all!!! "Most producers they use the so-called 'pastone', explains Laura Rondini, owner with his brother Andrea de La Bottega del Pesto – The basil is a very delicate plant, needs light and heat, so it comes harvest in summer, when the yield is so great and the prices are lowered. Then the mince and with oil and salt – or just salt – freeze it between -9 ° and -18 °: this is the 'pastone'. Do not freeze, it is a semi-finished product also of DOP brand (because the PDO is due to the production area), but eat a product with the leaf collected even the year before. To get an idea of ​​the price: the 'pastone' costs 5 euro / kg, the fresh leaf 22 euro / kg ". The Bottega pesto is delicious, Genoese basil and EVO. Cashew nuts, which are used together with pine nuts to lower production costs a little, do not like purists but do not distort the taste. The practice of replacing – at least partially – by now luxurious pine nuts with other nuts is increasingly common, even at home, from the early 2000s. Reason? The bug of the pines, commonly called cimicione or American cudicione, "Immigrated" to Italy in 1999. Since then this parasite caused damage to no end, brutally affecting the Italian domestic pine, in the fruits of which the pine cones contain seeds and pine nuts. In the last dozen years, production has fallen by 80% and quadrupled prices. The Italian pine nuts are rare and expensive, indeed very dear compared to their main competitor, the Chinese pine nut (Beijing holds over 60% of world production). The cashew it is dried fruit with a more neutral taste, more like pine nuts – although many use them instead the walnuts which, although varying a bit 'more flavor than the original sauce, amalgamate that bit of sweetness more that can be in fact delicious.

Where to eat it in Genoa

169926Gesino, historical and typical trattoria Sant'Eusebio, ancient micro-village that rises to 222 m s.l.m, today Genoese district part of the central Val Bisagno. The pesto of Gesino, like all his cooking – from soup to meatballs – is genuine, all done at home by the elderly of the family, from Signora Agostina to Livio, master of the pie. In the center, very close to the Brignole station, very popular The Genoese. In the extraordinary historical city center, you can try the testaroli with pesto Cabotina, behind Via Garibaldi, where the UNESCO World Heritage palaces stand out. Or in the stoto trattoria from Ugo, where the trenette are "avantagiäe", or pesto served with its potatoes & green beans. As tradition wants. By default, now a rarity. Monsù, just as historic as the western town, Sampierdarena district, once frequented by the camalli, the workers of the port, we serve a pure and traditional pesto – to try lasagnette – as well as other typical Genoese dishes on the menu, from tripe up ( despite being once owned by Piedmontese). Further to the West, under the Sestri Ponente shipyards, Le Toe Drue (which also prepares "Ferrari" by Cappon Magro). Finally, in the delightful Boccadasse, a former fishing village near the city center, towards Levante, you can try the one of Osvaldo.

Carola Traverso Saibante

January 2019

How to taste extra virgin olive oil and why buy various types – Italian Cuisine


A mini guide to the tasting of extra virgin olive oil and how to enhance different types with recipes that will inspire you

Extra virgin olive oil is one of the treasures of our gastronomy that must never be lacking in the pantry. We use it for cook, season raw and complete all dishes that are looking for that extra something that makes them perfect. Like a drop of good and carefully selected oil.

And it is precisely here that the first doubts arise. Which oil should I buy? Did I choose a good product?
To understand it together, we let ourselves be guided by the experience of Olio Sagra, a product that has its roots in the authentic Lucca of 1959. Decades of work, research and consolidated traditions not to be missed. Just like that of taste the oil and try to understand it deeper.

The steps and the rules of the tasting

When: le best times to taste extra virgin olive oil, are those in the morning. You will then have to devote yourself to this operation away from meals and avoid from the day before taking alcohol to eat highly aromatized and spicy foods. Even the use of aftershave, perfumes and tobacco could compromise the result.

Such as: between a taster and the other, let pass a few minutes so that the sensations of the first taste do not condition the next. We recommend chewing a piece of apple or bread to help the mouth to find the right balance between a taste and the other.

The sight: now that we are ready, we proceed to the visual examination. Extra virgin olive oil will result clear if it has been filtered or if it has undergone a natural decantation process. Sara veiled if it is a new and unfiltered oil, while it will appear turbid if characterized by filamentous striations and impurities. In this case we find ourselves in front of an oil that has been badly preserved or produced with insufficient attention and cleaning.
As for the color, we will have to research all the shades that go from yellow to green, alarming us if our extra virgin olive oil is colorless. This is indeed an indication of poor quality or illicit manipulation. In the event that orange appears instead, it means that it is oxidized.

smell: now let's move on to the second phase by preparing our champion in a cup that we will cover with the hand and keep in contact with the palms, subjecting it to slight circular movements. When it is hot (the optimal temperature is 28 ° C) we proceed by inhaling deeply with both nostrils at least three times. In this phase we will look for the olfactory notes of reference and try to perceive the different fragrances and ripening of the olives.

On the palate: here we are at the most awaited phase of our sensory analysis. Pour the extra-virgin olive oil into a small glass (about 15 ml). Let's keep it to temperature of 28 ° C in order to better perceive all the organoleptic characteristics. Let's sniff it and try to steal pleasant and unpleasant olfactory sensations. Take oil now by sucking in air with a suction first slow and delicate, then more vigorous, in order to vaporize it in the oral cavity bringing it in direct contact with the taste buds. Now let's rest the mouth by slowly moving the tongue against the palate.
At this point we inhale again with the tongue against the palate and the semi-open lips. Now expel the oil.
Finally, let's focus on the aftertaste or the gustatory and olfactory sensation that remains after swallowing.

Which one to choose

After tasting the oil, you will have realized that you appreciate some qualities more than others and you have identified a specific type that meets your preferences. Choosing only one oil, however, could represent a limit in the consumption phase. Ideally, in fact, to fully appreciate the potential of a good extra virgin olive oil, we should put it to the test by providing the best conditions. This means that for example a delicate oil is not suitable for the preparation of dishes with an intense flavor, but it is perfect to give freshness to light and balanced dishes. In the same way, an intense oil could be too intrusive if served raw on a steamed fish fillet, while it could be perfect on more complex cooking or regional preparations. Let's see then below 5 types of different oils and to which preparations are combined to the best.

The oils and the recipes

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How to use an extra virgin oil with a vibrant but balanced taste?
Its ideal use is in light dishes that enhance its delicate flavor. The fish for example, it requires an oil that knows how to enhance its taste without covering it. Perfect even when cooked, it gives its best with a small addition to raw at the end of the preparation (just a teaspoon per serving).
The recipe chosen to enhance the extra virgin olive oil Sagra Bassa Acidità is the exotic fish soup.
The ingredients for 6 people: a
spoon extra virgin olive oil Low Acidity, 1kg of soup fish (preferably Cernia), peeled tomatoes, half a kg of cassava, 1 kg of potatoes, half a kg of pumpkin, half a kg of green bananas, an onion, 2 cloves garlic, bay leaves, sage, pepper, salt.
Method: Season fish with oil, garlic and bay leaf. Chop the onion, the remaining bay leaves, the sage and the garlic and brown them in oil with chilli and tomatoes. Add the potatoes, bananas, cassava and pumpkin cut into cubes and season. Add some water to cover the preparation. When the ingredients are about to finish cooking, add salt, add the fish and cook it. You can serve it accompanied by white rice or slices of toasted bread and seasoned with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, Sagra Bassa Acidità.

What are the ideal preparations for a organic oil with a strong but balanced taste?
A prized oil such as the Organic extra virgin olive Sagra produced with olives from Organic Agriculture and exclusive Italian production, deserves to be enhanced with preparations that do not alter the taste. We will be able to appreciate it raw on vegetables, white meats and first courses of tomato, but also in fanciful recipes like the fish false based on tuna.
The ingredients for 6 people: a glass of extra virgin organic olive oil, 600 g of tuna, 500 g of potatoes, half a glass of mayonnaise, a jar of anchovies, a jar of capers, 200 g of butter.
Method: pprepare the mayonnaise, boil the potatoes, peel them, pass them through the vegetable mill and season them with the butter. In a bowl put the drained tuna with 5 washed anchovies and blend everything: it should not become a too homogeneous cream. Chop half of the capers with the crescent and add them to the mixture. Add the cream of tuna, anchovies and capers and 2/3 of mayonnaise to the potatoes. Mix gently and in a serving tray give the mixture the shape of a fish. Cover with the remaining mayonnaise and decorate with capers remaining whole or, as desired, with thin slices of radish that recall the scales. Serve cold with toasted bread croutons.

How to use an oil in the kitchen intense fruity?
The 100% Italian extra virgin Sagra is an oil in which you will find a round taste that reflects the characteristics of the typical Italian oil. Produced from olives from our territory, it is perfect to be used every day in the kitchen to enrich the simplest recipes or give an intense note to the traditional preparations like the polenta muffins.
Ingredients for 6 people: a glass of extra virgin olive oil 100% Italian Sagra, 500 g of yellow flour, 2 liters of water, 2 boxes of peeled tomatoes, 3 carrots, one onion, 2 bunches of basil, salt, pepper and Parmesan cheese q.b.
Method: prepair a pomarola with peeled tomatoes, finely chopped carrots, chopped onion, basil and a glass of oil. Bring to a boil and cook for about 25 minutes, adding salt, pepper and a little sugar. Turn off the heat. Once the sauce has cooled, pass it with the sauce and keep it aside. Put the water to boil with salt and oil. When it is boiling, pour the yellow flour into it and, after having melted it, cook for 45 minutes. Meanwhile, butter an oven dish or a baking dish and place small piles of warm polenta, helping with two tablespoons. Season the matuffi thus obtained with the pomarola sauce, sprinkle with grated Parmesan and bake in the oven at 250 ° C. Serve very hot.

In which recipes do you use an oil with a fragrant aroma of ripe olive?
Balanced, delicate, but at the same time complex. Sagra Classico extra virgin olive oil can be adapted to different preparations and is ideal for finishing raw dishes or preparing bases during cooking. It gives the best of itself in simple and Mediterranean dishes as the spelled with tomatoes, zucchini and ricotta.
Ingredients for 6 people: Extra Virgin Olive Oil "Il Classico" Sagra, 200g of pearl spelled, a spring onion, 150g of yellow and red tomatoes, 150g of chickpeas, 2 courgettes, 2 spoons of capers, 150g of ricotta, basil, salt and pepper
Preparation: ccook the spelled in abundant salted water. Meanwhile, cut the onion and fry in a pan with 2 tablespoons of oil. Cut the courgettes into sticks and add them to the pan along with the halved cherry tomatoes. Cook for about 5 minutes, adding salt and pepper. Add also chickpeas, capers and spelled. Stir well, cook for 1 minute and turn off the heat. Serve with crumbled ricotta and basil and season with a little extra virgin olive oil.

What are the preparations suitable for a fragrant and tasty oil?
The golden yellow color with green reflections, the fragrant scent and the balanced taste of Sagra Grandulivo make it the perfect extra virgin for seasonings raw. It gives the best of itself on meat and fish, but it is also excellent on toasted bread that serves as an accompaniment to soups and grilled dishes. One of the perfect dishes to appreciate its qualities, is the veal with pizzaiola.
Ingredients for 6 people: 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil Sagra Grandulivo, 900 g of slices of veal, 1 kg of fresh ripe tomatoes, 2 fiordilatte mozzarella, a tube of tomato paste, a clove of garlic, salt, pepper and oregano
Method: Spread the slices on the cutting board and flatten them with a meat tenderizer. Cut the mozzarella into slices. In a pan heat the 6 tablespoons of oil, the clove of garlic and the peeled tomatoes cut into small pieces. Season with salt, pepper and a handful of oregano. Once the sauce begins to boil, throw the slices of meat and turn them occasionally to taste. Cook over a moderate heat until the tomato sauce is a bit 'restricted (about 20 minutes). Cover each slice with a slice of mozzarella, cover the pan, already off the stove and, as soon as the mozzarella has begun to melt, place the meat on the tray, covered with tomato sauce and serve immediately.

10 recipes that will make you buy beets – Italian Cuisine


Valuable to combat the signs of aging, take vitamins and minerals and protect the health of our heart. Here's how to taste beets and learn to really know them

Often the word beet is associated with the idea of ​​something unappetizing, eaten forcibly on rare occasions and little present on our table. But losing touch with what is often called red turnip, it would be a real shame. It is indeed a ingredient rich in properties, low-calorie and low glycemic index known since the Babylonian era.

The most common varieties

One of the most widespread, is the flat black Egyptian beet, while in the US the most known and consumed is Detroit. Italian production instead offers the round of Chioggia, very easy to distinguish from the others thanks to the white and red rings that once it has been cut. The sugar beet and the fodder that is called are also widespread red mammouth. Also intended for the table there chard, Characterized by large leaves of a bright green color.

Chioggia round beets.

A full of minerals and antioxidants

Consisting of 90% of water, beetroot is a plant rich in minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. Its renowned detoxifying, purifying and digestive properties make it perfect for those who are following a program detox where it is recommended to take it mainly as a decoction. The mineral salts most present in this health concentrate are iron, potassium, calcium, sodium, magnesium and phosphorus and is a valuable integrator of vitamins of group B and C. To take vitamin A, we will have to consume its leaves. In addition to being so important at a nutritional level, beets are also considered an elixir of youth thanks to the abundant presence of antioxidants including flavonoids, saponins and anthocyanins.

Because we should not do without it

The consumption of beet favors the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and helps to regulate blood pressure. It is also indicated for lose weight (especially if raw) and favors the drainage of toxins and liquids. Ideal for those suffering from kidney stones due to the presence of calcium and for pregnant women (provides folic acid) is instead not recommended for diabetics and for those suffering from gastritis. The high presence of sugars and the stimulation to the production of gastric juices must in fact be taken into consideration by those who suffer from these diseases.

How to consume

Beetroot can be eaten uncooked served simply with oil and lemon in salad. To appreciate it at best, it is advisable to cut it into very thin slices to avoid clashing with its important consistency. Instead, Cotta lends itself to being boiled, prepared in the oven and sautéed in a pan. But we must not forget that it can also be added to centrifuges or inserted in special extractors to consume the precious juice.

Our proposals

One of the most interesting methods to approach beet is to taste it in sauce. In the gallery below, you will find recipes dedicated to this preparation such as beef skewers with Ketchup beet, salted kaiserschmarrn with beet cream and beetroot, rice and artichokes. If you are still not convinced, you will surrender to its charm with the Tempura of fennel and beet and l'Russian salad with smoked herring and beetroot. To taste it simply, instead, we prepared beetroot and soncino with goat's cream, soup beet and mixed meats, beetroot and daikon with provola and an appetizer of beetroot, hard-boiled eggs and mackerel. Instead you will discover a surprisingly good filling with i ravioli of beet.

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