Tony D’s Liguria Tri Color Penne Pesto
Serve with classic Italian white wines. Such as a Pinot Grigio from Liguria or Gavi from Piemonte. Sauvignon Blanc from Loire valley is also a great choice.
Ingredients for Pesto:
4 cups of fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup of pine nuts (Pignolia nuts) or substitute roasted sliced almonds toasted on the oven until golden brown
½ tablespoon of salt to taste
½ teaspoon black pepper to taste
2 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup of premium extra virgin olive oil
1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
¾ cup of freshly grated Romano cheese
Directions for Pesto:
1) Add 1 cup of olive oil, 2 tablespoon of minced garlic and 4 cups of fresh basil leaves (remove any excess rinse water) to the blender or food processor. Blend at a medium speed into a paste. Important: If storing the pesto, blanch the basil leaves to prevent browning. Remove excess water.
2) Add 1/2 tablespoon salt,1/2 teaspoon of black pepper and 1/2 cup of pignolia nuts or substitute roasted sliced almonds (roast the almonds to golden brown and cool before use) continue to blend into a paste. Optional: at 350 degrees Fahrenheit lightly roast pignolia nuts for approximately 5-7 minutes to enhance nut flavors. Cool before use.
3) Place the pesto mixture into a mixing bowl and mix in 1 cup of freshly grated Parmesan cheese and ¾ cup of freshly grated Roman cheese.
Special Creamy Version:
For creamy pesto - simmer 1 1/2 cup of heavy cream and ½ cup of Pesto to slightly thicken then fold in 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese. Toss with 16 ounces of your favorite al dente pasta and ½ cup of pasta water.
Storage tip: Place unused portion in a storage container or jar. Add a thin film of olive oil on top to keep the oxygen from the Pesto. This prevents oxidation and browning. Refrigerate of freeze.
For Liguria Tri Color Penne Pesto:
Cook 1 pound of tri color Penne al dente and remove 1 cup of the pasta water for later use before straining the linguini. Toss penne, half the pesto mixture, and cup of pasta water.