In Italiano a questo link.
The following article is the translation of an article appeared on the Corriere di Napoli website, in the “I Piatti vostri column; curated by myself, enjoy the reading.
Each city has its own pesto.
It could be a slogan for a brand of ready-made sauces, but that’s exactly what I thought when I was preparing this recipe. A recipe “made by me” English speakers would say. During these months we have met Teresa, Francesca, Alessia and Sara through their recipes. So to greet you and thank you I wanted to add my recipe to the column: “I Piatti Vostri”.
A column that comes from a “chat” I had with Aldo, the heir to the Giordano Pastificio. An artisanal pasta factory that is almost 100 years old (4 are missing). While chatting, we noticed that in recent years food has become the protagonist of numerous broadcasts, TV series, blogs and discussions of all kinds. By transforming “cooking” from a spontaneous, often a necessary act in something “spectacular”. Expropriating home kitchens from the act of “making food” in favor of respectable tele-chefs.
Yet, most of the people getting close to the fires every day do so for reasons unrelated to the logic of the show business. Every day millions of people prepare delicious meals without wanting anything in return but the smiles of loved ones. I Piatti Vostri was born with the intention of giving credit to home cooking. The column is intended to be a collection of stories of “ordinary” people and their favorite recipes.
This Neapolitan Pesto is a tribute to one of the most famous and loved vegetables of the Neapolitan area: the Frierielli; a leafy vegetable with an intense colour and strong taste. A plant that in the past, given its large consumption, contributed to the attribution to the Neapolitan people of the nickname of “Mangia foglie” leaves eater literally.
Tell us a little about yourself: As a child, I always preferred to be in the kitchen with my mom rather than playing “football” on the street. The passion for cooking was handed down to me by her. With travel, then the curiosity for local cuisines has become even stronger. The kitchen is the only place in the house where I can spend hours without having to think or do anything else.
Why did you choose this recipe?
It is a recipe that I thought up for this column. I did some research and I noticed that there is a Pesto alla Genovese, a Sicilian Pesto, but not Neapolitan and so I created one for Naples. I did it thinking of widely used ingredients, adored by the “Neapolitan speakers” and can only be collected in our territory: the Friarielli. I also noticed that the pestos having “broccoli” family as main ingredients do so by cooking them first. So I wanted to keep the “raw preparation” of pestos but using a vegetable that is usually eaten cooked, the Friarielli.
How did you create it or where did you learn it?
I have always wondered why in the kitchen some parts of a vegetable are used and others go to the trash. In our case, the Friarielli makes a lot of scraps. In Neapolitan recipes usually only the tops are used. I usually make a very good spread with the leaves and stems. Now, however, using the largest raw leaves I thought of making a pesto. A winter pesto since the Friarielli “must” be harvested only during winter.
How would you describe an appetizer, first course, side dish etc? A sauce, condiment for various uses.
What are the ingredients for 4 people?
1 clove of garlic
Chili to taste
The waste leaves from a bunch of Friarielli
Half a glass of extra virgin olive oil
A handful of unshelled walnuts.
These are the ones I used but of course you can change them according to your tastes.
Degree of difficulty? Simple
1 Rinse the leaves of the broccoli and let them dry.
2 Take out the edible part of the nuts from the shell. It doesn’t matter if they break.
3 In a mortar, add a pinch of salt, pepper and garlic. Start pounding until you get a “paste” then add half of the walnuts and continue to pound. This operation will ensure that the garlic and nut oils are extracted well.
4 Then add the Friarielli leaves a little at a time and continue to pound, gradually adding the other leaves. Then finally the remaining walnuts in order to have a little “crunchiness” in the pesto.
5 When you have obtained the desired texture, add the oil slowly, continuing to pound until you reach the texture you like.
6 I cooked spaghetti and seasoned with the fresh made pesto, a drizzle of raw oil and cooking water.
I had a mortar and pestle (here how to get your with a discount) at home that I highly recommend using. However, pesto can also be obtained using a blender. In this case, put all the ingredients except the oil into the blender, chop them at a low speed and then slowly add the oil. Always use a low speed for the blade. Otherwise the heat produced by the blades can change the taste.
Furthermore, as I mentioned, the consistency depends on your taste and uses. I made it less creamy than a Genovese Pesto because I then balanced it with a little fresh oil and the cooking water of the pasta. But feel free to make the recipe yours and use it however you like.
Enjoy your meal!