A dear friend of mine recently visited Boston with her husband and spoiled me with gifts and attention. An “engagement gift” of sorts, she not only treated me to a delicious dinner at Tico in Boston, but she bought me a wonderful assortment of Italian favorites including a fine bottle of Chianti, homemade orecchiette pasta and Frantoia Olive Oil.
In addition to some amazing ingredients, Katie’s husband, John, selflessly handed over a family recipe for Pesto Genovese (proper pesto terminology, as pesto originated in Genoa, Italy) along with a recipe for preparing it with orecchiette pasta, smoked gouda and sun dried tomatoes. Yes, this is just as amazing as it sounds. And good news for you, he even gave me the OK to share it on my blog.
So thank you, Mrs. & Mr. Napolitano, for a fun visit, delicious treats and the timeless gift of an authentic Italian recipe.
I can’t do his recipe justice in my own words, so this comes directly from him. While it doesn’t follow my standard recipe “flow,” I think this is plenty comprehensive. Plus now you can learn a thing or two because he lends some expert tips.
- “Take 60-70 basil leaves and chop/crush them down. Food processor or mortar and pestle will suffice. Just be sure not to use high speeds for long durations if using the processor as it could alter the photochemical properties of the leaves. Something an older paisano man once taught me.
- Add three to four cloves of garlic to the processor, and then 2-3 tablespoons of lightly toasted pignoli (pine) nuts. Crush them down…and add some good olive oil.
- Then add a tablespoon of pecorino romano and a tablespoon of parmigiano reggiano cheese to the mixture. Then add some more olive oil along with salt and fresh pepper until it renders the right consistency and flavor of your pallet.
Now the final ingredient……
- 1 teaspoon of cream cheese. Mix it in and you will notice the pesto take on a more creamy consistency while countering the pugnancy of the garlic.
- Add pesto to the cooked pasta…..preferably orechiette or gimelli. Then add 1/4 cup of sundried tomatoes(cut into julienne stips) and 1/4 cup of aged or smoked gouda cheese cut into dice sized cubes into the pasta. Finally top with a little fresh pecorino romano cheese and some lightly toasted pignoli nuts with each serving plate.
- Serve right away and pair with a light malbec or nebbiolo red wine.
I have to say, this was an incredible dish! I didn’t have parmigiano, so I used solely romano, and I think it was still perfection. It was rich and filling, and goes great with some fresh Italian bread and a salad.
Note: This recipe actually came from John’s Mother’s family, the Monteverdes in Genoa. So kudos to them for a fantastic family recipe!