Archive for the ‘Pecorino’ Category

Pesto (Felicity Cloake)

July 23, 2018

Prep 20-25 min
Makes 1 small jar

2 tbsp pine nuts
1 pinch salt
250g fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove (optional)
25g parmesan
25g pecorino
300ml extra-virgin olive oil

1 Toast the nuts

Heat a frying pan on a medium flame, then toast the pine nuts, shaking the pan occasionally, until fragrant and starting to colour. Pine nuts, especially the fat Italian kind, aren’t cheap, so many commercial pestos use cashews; pistachios or almonds also make decent substitutes. (Always taste pine nuts before use: they go rancid very quickly.) Tip out on to a plate and leave to cool completely.

2 Grate the cheese

Meanwhile, get everything else ready. Finely grate the cheese: parmesan and pecorino (I like a combination of the two: the former for its richness; the latter for its cleaner, saltier flavour) are the traditional choices in pesto’s Ligurian homeland, but many commercial pestos use cheaper grana padano; indeed, pretty much any very hard cheese will work.

3 Prep the basil

Pick the basil leaves until you have 250g: discard the stalks, because they discolour quickly and give an unpleasantly fibrous texture to the pesto. (This may seem extravagant, but pasta and pesto is still a pretty cheap meal, especially if you buy the basil in large bunches at a market or greengrocers, where it tends to be cheaper than the supermarket.)

4 Mortar v food processor

Choose your equipment: purists insist that pesto can be made only with a pestle and mortar, because the action is less violent than a food processor. There’s a surprising logic behind this – experiments show that more coarsely chopped basil retains more flavour – but you can still make great pesto in a machine, so long as you use it with care.

5 Start pounding (garlic optional)

Lightly crush the nuts with a pinch of salt, then gradually add the basil, pounding or pulsing just until you have a thick paste. Work as quickly as possible, so the basil retains its vibrant green colour, but be careful not to overwork it, especially if you’re using a food processor. You can also add a garlic clove, although I don’t.

6 Add the cheese and oil

Stir in the cheese, then gradually beat in the oil, keeping a little back for the top of the jar. Extra-virgin olive oil is the usual choice, but you need to exercise caution: some are so strongly peppery that they will overpower the basil, so taste before use. To keep costs down, mix with a neutral oil, as commercial manufacturers often do.

7 Leftovers

Pesto is best eaten fresh, but if you have any left over, spoon into a sterilised jar, then cover with olive oil to form a seal. It should keep for a couple of weeks in the fridge, though always taste a little before adding it to anything. Alternatively, it freezes surprisingly well: ice-cube trays are a good receptacle for individual portions.

8 Traditional extras

To make classic Genovese pesto pasta, seek out trofie: these little twisted pasta pieces hold the sauce perfectly, but strozzapreti, linguine or any long pasta will also do. Boil in well-salted water and toss with the pesto, a handful of blanched green beans and some boiled, peeled and cubed waxy potatoes – a dash of pasta cooking water helps emulsify the sauce.

9 Variations

The word “pesto” comes from “pestare”, meaning to pound or crush, but what you choose to crush is up to you. Pesto alla Siciliana, or pesto rosso, is made with tomatoes, almonds and occasionally mint instead of basil; pesto alla Calabrese uses tomatoes, roast red peppers and ricotta. I often make a British version with wild garlic or parsley, walnuts and goat’s cheese.

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Artichoke Olive and Pecorino Salad

August 10, 2017

Penne With Cherry Tomato Sauce (Mary Berry)

January 31, 2017

penne-with-cherry-tomato-sauce-mary-berrypenne-with-cherry-tomato-sauce-mary-berry

Bucatini all carbonara (Anna del Conte)

March 2, 2016

Serves 4
olive oil 1 tbsp
unsmoked pancetta 115g, cubed
bucatini 350g
egg yolks 4
pecorino cheese 100g, grated
unsalted butter 30g
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 120C/gas mark ½.

Heat the oil in a frying pan and when hot, throw in the pancetta. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the pancetta is brown and crisp. While the pancetta is cooking, cook the pasta in boiling salted water.

In a bowl, beat together the egg yolks, cheese, butter, salt and lots of black pepper. Place the bowl in the oven.

When the pasta is ready, drain, reserving a cupful of the water, and turn it into the frying pan with the pancetta. Using two forks, stir-fry until all the strands are well coated with the fat, adding a few tablespoons of the pasta water to loosen them.

Transfer to the warmed bowl with the egg mixture, mix thoroughly and serve at once on warmed plates.

Goats Cheese and Broccoli Tart

November 9, 2012

 

Giant Ravioli with Pecorino and Honey (Antonio Carluccio)

September 20, 2012

Perfect Spaghetti Carbonara (Felicity Cloake)

June 26, 2012

Serves 2

1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, sliced
75g pancetta, cubed
250g dried spaghetti
2 eggs and 1 egg yolk
25g pecorino romano, finely grated
25g parmesan, finely grated
Freshly ground black pepper
Nutmeg, optional

1. Put two bowls into a low oven to keep warm, or boil a kettle and half fill them with hot water. Heat the oil in a large frying pan on a medium heat, then add the garlic and cook until well coloured, then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and discard. Add the pancetta and cook until translucent and golden, but not brown around the edges.

2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of boiling, salted water until al dente. In a bowl, beat together the eggs and the extra yolk and then stir in the the pecorino and most of the parmesan, reserving a little for garnish. Grind in plenty of black pepper.

3. Scoop out a small cupful of the pasta cooking water, and then drain the pasta well. Tip it into the frying pan and toss to coat with the pancetta fat.

4. Take the pan off the heat and tip in the egg mixture, tossing the pasta furiously, then, once it’s begun to thicken, add a dash of cooking water to loosen the sauce. Toss again, and divide between the warm bowls, finishing off with a grating of nutmeg and a little more parmesan. Eat immediately.

Trofie Pasta Liguria (Delia Smith)

December 9, 2011

Pasta bake with beef and lamb sauce (Gino Di Campo)

October 31, 2011