Tuesday, July 15, 2008

News from the herb garden – Ruccola pesto

I have a large ruccola plant in the garden of our summer home. As the taste is very strong and peppery, I have found that it is more an herb, than a salad leaf. Before returning from Spain, I tried to figure out how to use it. After visiting an Italian restaurant in Sitges I suddenly knew what to do. A ruccola pesto – what a great idea and what a taste!!

The ruccola leaves you buy in your store are great for salads. A mild, still distinct taste make them ideal as contrast to the milder leaves with more texture than taste. My ruccola is standing in the sun, and comes back each year to produce leaves in abundance. I have tried to mix in leaves in smaller quantities, but there are still too much left.

This weekend I made a serious harvest to produce one of the best pestos I have ever tasted.

The inspiration for this is the Italian restaurant Claudius in Sitges where they served gnocchi with a fabulous sauce from ruccola pesto and gorgonzola cheese - a mouth watering experience.

Basically it was just like making an ordinary pesto. One large bowl of ruccola leaves was mixed with around 20 cl of good Spanish olive oil and blended smooth using a hand mixer. I toasted 100 grams of pine nuts lightly and continued to blend ending the process by adding 75 grams of Parmesan cheese and a little salt. The spicy peppery taste of the leaves was perfect for a rich green, oil based sauce.

Fettucine with fresh ruccola, Parmesan and ruccola pesto

Perfectly simple and very tasty.

For two you will need:
250 grams fresh fettuccine
5 cl good Spanish olive oil
50 grams Parmesan cheese, grated
50 grams ruccola leaves, finely chopped
4 tbsp ruccola pesto
Salt, pepper

Heat 2 litres water with 3-4 teaspoons of salt, boil tagliatelle for 4 minutes. Pour out water but keep a few tbsps of the cooking liquid in the pan. Toss spaghetti in the remaining liquid over heat. Add oil, mix well, then ruccola leaves, Parmesan, and pesto while tossing the tagliatelle each time. Add a little salt and pepper and serve hot.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I loved the idea of ruccola pesto,thanks.I grow my ruccola in the balcony which is fun but I`m afraid not enough (fun) to make the pesto,will have to buy it.Cheers