Pesto alla Genovese is a classic pesto made from pine nuts, basil, a bit of cheese and olive oil. It is really easy to make and tastes best with fresh basil. You can use it for pasta or as a base for pizza.
(makes about 400 ml / 400 g of pesto, i.e. about 2 servings)
80-100 g pine nuts
30 g fresh basil
4 cloves of garlic
120-130 ml olive oil
90 g pecorino cheese
How to Make It
Roast the pine nuts in a pan until they are golden brown. Do not use any oil.
Wash the basil leaves.
Peel the cloves of garlic and cut them into slices.
Blend the pine nuts, the basil, and the garlic until you have a chunky paste. Please be aware that the more pine nuts you use, the stronger the nutty flavor will be. If you are unsure whether you like that, start out with less pine nuts and slowly add more as you go until you have reached the flavor you like.
Add about 80 ml of the olive oil and blend everything thoroughly.
Add the cheese and at least a teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper each.
Blend again and add more olive oil until you reach the desired consistency.
Taste it and add more spices if necessary. Let the pesto rest for 30 minutes and taste again. You may have to add a bit more salt then.
You can freeze the pesto if you want or store it in the fridge in an air-tight container for 3-5 days. Make sure to pour a layer of olive oil on top, though.
Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish vegetable soup mostly eaten during summer because it is served cold. This soup does not require cooking, you just need to have a decent blender and you are good to go. The result is a fresh and refreshing soup and perfect for hot summer days. Just make sure you let it get properly cold before serving it. 🙂
(makes about 5 liters; if you filter it, you end up with about 2.5 to 3 liters)
Wash the tomatoes and cut out the stalks. Take a sharp knife and make a big “X” at the bottom of the tomato.
Take a pot and heat up enough water to submerge the tomatoes in it. Once the water is hot, put the tomatoes in it and wait until the skin starts to come off. This usually takes no more than 30 seconds. Then take the tomatoes out of the water and let them cool off.
Cut the tomatoes into chunks and put them into the blender.
Wash and peel the cucumbers. Dice them and put the pieces into the blender.
Peel the cloves of garlic, cut them into slices, and add them to the rest of the ingredients in the blender.
Take the slices of toast and cut off the crust. Put the crust to the side; you can use it for the toppings later. Soak the bread for 10-15 minutes in cold water, then carefully squeeze out the water and put the bread into the blender.
Blend all your ingredients thoroughly in the blender.
Add at least 2 teaspoons of salt and freshly ground pepper each, 8 tablespoons of olive oil, 6 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons of “crema de balsamico”, and 2 teaspoons of oregano. Add potherbs as you see fit (I am a big fan, so I add 4-5 tablespoons easily). Blend again.
Take a food mill and sieve the blended soup. Let it sit for 30 minutes, taste it, and adjust the seasoning.
Refrigerate for at least 6 hours. When serving, the gazpacho must be very cold.
Before serving, prepare the toppings.
Wash the bell peppers and dice them.
Wash the cucumber, peel, and dice it.
Wash and dice the tomatoes.
Cut the slices of toast into pieces. Take the leftover crusts from the toast for the gazpacho and cut them into pieces as well. Take out a small pan and heat up 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil. Fry the pieces of toast in the oil until they are golden brown. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Sprinkle the toppings on the gazpacho and serve it. Enjoy cold!