Last year we went to Italy for our summer holidays. One week of sun and sea but more importantly one week of gelato, great pasta, olive oil tastings and pizza’s. I don’t really know how they do it but they do it so well.
The day before we were to drive back home we visited Serni Fulvio Luigi an Olive oil Farm close to Castagneto Carducci (this is in the Toscana). It was a sunny and fragant day and we went in the morning so the rest of the day could be spent at the beach. We were met by “Nonna” who was in charge that day of tastings and in charge of babysitting her grandson who was happily chewing away at a piece of bread dipped in olive oil. (His diapers must be funky!)
She brought us to a small room, laid out the bread, served the oil and opened a couple of bottles of wine (this is 10 am). And she explained a lot of things….. I think she explained how the oil was made, she must have talked about the quality and I am pretty sure she also chatted about the wine.
However, my Italian is rubbish so I only understood about 10%.
She served us some amazing sun filled oil and wine. We then got the grand tour of the property… It was nice, warm, it smelled like olive oil and cured meat, flowers were blooming and I wanted to stay….forever….and learn Italian.
Needless to say we left with our heads full of souvenirs, kisses from Nonna on both cheeks and arms full of oil and wine. And every time I use the oil I have a little Sun Showered Flashback.
For real down to earth Italian recipes I always rely on Italy’s bestselling culinary “bible,” Il Cucchiaio d’argento (The Silver Spoon). A need to have, I think, in every kitchen for all basic Italian cooking which is simply beautiful especially if you can use great oil and fresh basil! You will probably notice, if you also use The Silver Spoon that I rely on the basics but adapt asap…..The Fab Frenchman thinks I have a real problem following directions and I think he might not be totally wrong. But shhhht…..
25 leaves of fresh Basil (or 10 gr),
50 gr (or 1/3 cup) of freshly grated Parmesan,
40 grams (or 2 handsfull) of Pine nuts,
100 ml (between 1/3 and 1/2 cup) of great quality extra virgin olive oil,
Optional: 1/2 clove of garlic and a splash of lemon.
Pulse the basil, garlic and the pine nuts in the food processor or pile them using a pestle and mortar. Add half of the olive oil and pulse. Add half off the cheese and pulse. Add the rest of the cheese and if you feel like it a splash of lemon and pulse then keep adding the oil until you have the right consistency. Season with some fresh black pepper and you’re good. It is the easiest, instant sunshine recipe!
Buon appetito e arrivederci!
…..and here is some Eros Ramazzotti...just for you!