Posts Tagged ‘Basil’
This week we were lucky enough to meet the producer of our fantastic Ligurian basil. He kindly showed us him how to create the perfect pesto. He told us that pesto is very easy to make, but does take some time to explain – and believe us, it is well worth the read:
You will need:
With so few ingredients, quality really is key so make sure to really carefully chose your products.
To make this wonderful pesto, start by crushing the garlic cloves. They will release a substance that ‘glues’ the ingredients together. Garlic will also give your pesto that extra kick, a spicy hit to balance the sweetness of the pine nuts and the perfume of the basil.
Now add the rock salt and basil leaves. Rock salt will help preserve the green of the basil.
The basil’s essential oils are in the leaves, so to make the most of them, do not hit them with the pestle, but simply stir the leaves so they are naturally broken by the rock salt.
Add the pine nuts and continue to mix, then add grated Parmesan and Pecorino and a delicate extra virgin olive oil to blend everythinig together. Give it a final mix and your pesto is ready.
Try it with a good Sauvignon Blanc – the perfect wine to blend the imposing flavour of the garlic with the aromatic essence of the basil.
Our beautiful Romana courgettes are firm and refreshing, ideal enjoyed raw. Try them in this quick and delicious salad…
Slice the Romana courgettes thinly, you can use a mandolin if you have one. Roughly quarter the tomatoes and cut the Pecorino in small pieces.
Then shell the walnuts, shred the basil leaves and mix all the ingredients together. Dress with a the olive oil and lemon juice, tossing everything together with a pinch of salt. Add the pomegranate seeds to decorate.
2 large aubergines, preferably the round variety
extra virgin olive oil
2 balls of mozzarella
1-2 tins of chopped tomatoes
1 bunch fresh basil
1 clove of garlic, crushed
freshly grated Parmesan
salt and pepper
a small baking tray
Wash, top and tail the aubergines peel off alternate stripes of skin. Then slice lengthways in 1cm thick slices. Ideally, do this the night before, layer in a pasta drainer sprinkling some rock salt on each layer, then put a heavy weight on top (usually a pot full of water does the trick) and leave to rest in the sink. The aubergines will lose quite a bit of water overnight. The following day, pat each slice with kitchen paper to dry them further. This step helps a lot as it improves the final result (you’ll get a meatier, less watery bake) but it’s not essential, so if you don’t have time just skip this bit.
Fry the aubergines in hot oil, but try to use as little as possible as aubergines will soak up a lot of oil resulting in a very heavy and greasy bake. Leave to rest on kitchen paper to absorb excess oil. If you have dried the aubergines overnight with salt, then they probably don’t need any seasoning. If you haven’t, then add salt to taste (consider they will flavour the tomatoes as well). Mix the tomatoes with the crushed garlic and some freshly ground black pepper.
Now start building your parmigiana. Put a spoonful of chopped tomatoes (you can use passata if you prefer a creamier result) on the bottom of the baking dish, then place a layer of aubergines on top. Top with more tomatoes, finely chopped mozzarella, basil and parmesan. Repeat until you run out of aubergines, making sure the last layer of parmesan is quite generous. Bake for half an hour at 200C, serve hot.
Got your own version of Meanzane alla Parmigiana? Let us know using the comment box.
Boil a pot of water for the pasta, when boiling quickly blanch the tomatoes for a few seconds. Scoop them out and cool under running water. This will help the skin peel off very easily, so that you’re left with only the pulp. Top the tomatoes and cut in half lengthways, then cut in long strips. Put the fillets on a pasta drainer and toss with some fine sea salt so that they will lose any excess water. Leave to rest for 10-15 minutes.
When ready, put some rock sea salt into the water and start cooking the pasta.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan, brown the garlic and sautee the tomatoes for a minute or so, on a high heat. Remove from the heat, adjust with salt if necessary, toss the spaghetti with the fillets and plate up. Drizzle with olive oil and a crack of pepper, then add the torn basil. You can add Parmesan or Pecorino if you wish.
Aubergine is at the peak of its season at the moment so it’s the perfect time to enjoy its creamy flesh. With ripe tomatoes, basil and mozzarella, this dish makes the most of some great seasonal produce.
Chop some basil leaves and garlic and mix with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Wash the tomatoes then slice and place in a bowl with a crushed garlic clove, some roughly chopped basil, salt and pepper and a dash of E.V.O. oil. If you like a bit of a kick, add some chilli. Leave to marinade.
Wash the aubergines and cut off the top. Slice in half lengthways. Slit across and rub sparingly with the herby mix, trying to season the inside of the pulp. Make sure you don’t cut near the skin. Drizzle with olive oil.
Place in a preheated (200C) oven on a baking tray and cook for 25 minutes until soft. Top with the tomatoes, cook for a further 5 minutes. Then add the mozzarella slices and sprinkle with parmesan, grill for a couple of minutes and serve, garnished with whole basil leaves.
If you like to have something with it, try some cous cous or a refreshing mixed leaves salad.
This week we’re celebrating our beautiful tomatoes. It’s the perfect time of year to enjoy sunkissed sweet datterini and meaty San Marzanos grown at the base of Mount Vesuvius. We have all the best varieties, expertly picked every week from the finest markets and growers in Southern Italy. They are so good that they even appear on the menus of some of London’s top restuarants, and have been featured in Theo Randalls “Pasta”, The Metro and Eat In Magazine.
Amazingly tasty this week are the rich San Marzano tomaotes. They are ideal for making sauces and soups and are just delicious in this traditional Tuscan recipe…
Heat some oil in a large saucepan or pot. Gently fry the garlic and some chillies, removing the garlic when golden brown.
Puree the tomatoes then add to the pot with some basil and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the bread, thinly sliced. Mix. When the bread has soaked up the sauce, add the hot stock. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook for 15 minutes adding more stock if necessary. Rest for an hour, then mix again to dissolve the bread. Serve hot, but not piping hot, with a drizzle of olive oil and garnish with fresh basil leaves.
Have your own favourite tomato recipe? Let us know! View our whole range of fresh tomatoes online today.