Saturday, 1 October 2011
Linguine con pesto e pomodori secchi (Linguine with pesto and sundried tomoatoes)
My sun dried tomatoes
This Summer I wanted to try and do some the old fashioned things my mum used to do. I wasn't brought up to do this kind of thing and I never thought I would have done, but suddenly I find myself wanting to "capture" the past and "revive" traditions.
Just like the Odyssey, the recipe for sun dried tomatoes was never written, but "sang" in the most musical language on Earth, and preserved for future generations.
Drying tomatoes in Italy
I had never had the urgency to dry tomatoes, but lately I've been wanting to experiment, do things my mum used to do... and make, maybe in an attempt to keep alive those few little "bits" of her I am able to reproduce, maybe copy, in an attempt to keep a little bit of her alive. I don't want her to fade away...
Whatever made me do it, I am trying to work out, as you can see, but... yes, it was a labour of love! Those tomatoes had to be cut in half, sea salt had to be generously sprinkled all over them and I had to make sure they were constantly kept in full sun light (front of the house in the morning, terrace in the afternoon.)
They took a whole month! After two weeks of shifting, turning over and contemplating tomatoes spread out onto an ancient wash board, the cat started giving me funny looks and my husband said he thought I must be mad: "Why are you doing this? You can buy them at the shops, you know?" I knew...
This is Audrey, the cat
But my tomatoes did dry in the hot Italian sun. It took well over a month. I actually could have named each one of those tomatoes, I got to know them so well! And, wrapped in a brown paper bag, I brought the little pockets of sunshine home, with me.
Today, remembering what my mum used to do, I washed my tomatoes in water and white wine vinegar, to get rid of the salt, patted them dry and... preserved them in jars, alternately layering tomatoes, with garlic, parsley and deliciously hot chilly pepper slices and then totally covering them in olive oil.
Ingredients I used to preserve my "sunny" tomatoes
I bet my mum would have laughed, if she could have seen me, and my attempts, but would I know she have been proud of me. And so am I. I am exploring the past and almost lost traditions...
The past preserved in a jar
I had time, today, and wanted to have some fun, so I experimented with a new recipe, which turned out to be absolutely delicious! One of the ingredient is, guesss... sun dried tomatoes!
Here it is:
Linguine con pomodori secchi e
400g (14 oz) linguine
5-6 sun dried tomatoes
in oilve oil
2 tbs capers
50g (2 oz) black olives, pitted
4 tbs pesto
1 clove garlic
1/2 hot chili pepper
This is how I made my pesto:
2 handfuls fresh basil
2 tbs mixed chopped nuts
or pine nuts
1/2 clove garlic
small piece chili pepper
handful parmesan or
4 tbs olive oil
For this recipe, you can buy a jar of pesto, or make your own. I don't like the look of bought pesto, nor I like the flavour: artificial and nasty, so I make my own, very easily, by placing all the ingredients in my baby whisker and just whizzing them all together. Easy! When it looks kind of creamy, it's done! The addition of hot chili pepper makes my pesto incredible!
Making my pesto
Having made or bought your pesto, chop the clove of garlic mentioned in the recipe for the sauce, and reserve. Slice the pitted olives and the sun dried tomatoes (I cut mine into strips)
Heat the oil in a pan and when hot (NOT before, otherwise your sauce will taste bland) add the garlic, fry until golden, then add olives, capers and tomatoes, stir for a minute and... it's done! The smell of this simple sauce is so unbelievable!
Cook your linguine al dente, drain and reserve a small cup of water from the pasta pot.
Next, "throw" your pasta in with the sauce, add your pesto, more cheese and black pepper and some of the pasta water, if it appears to be too dry!
This dish is so easy to make and just delicious and very fresh.