Pesto Piccante

As I had some nice fresh Basil on hand, I wanted to put together a Pesto, primarily for use as a pasta sauce. I also wanted to do something a little different than the usual Genoese style with garlic and pine-nuts and I decided to use green olives and green Jalapeno for a tangier, spicier result. The name I came up with, Pesto Piccante, has, it turns out already been used before and , when  I searched the name on line I found  some (mainly commercial) productions that are tomato based, and look very much to me like Italian variations of Salsa.

Well, screw it … I am going to use the name anyway …

The recipe for the result you see above is quite simple. Just whizz together (in a food processor) the following:

  • 1 bunch fresh Basil;
  • 8 large, green, pitted Olives;
  • 1 small, green Jalapeno Pepper;
  • ¼ of a small Onion;
  • 1 tsp. ground Green Peppercorns;
  • 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil;
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Salt; and,
  • 1 pinch dried Sage.

This will yield about ¾ of a cup. Only about two to three tablespoons are required for a single serving of pasta (if you are using the pesto for that purpose), and so I will actually get to use the batch I made for a couple of different dishes (further posts to follow)…

Anyway, I made a batch of spaghetti for supper for myself, and it went like this:


Although I was making a pesto coated pasta dish, I also decided to do a ‘Carbonara’ style finish and so, while the pasta was boiling, I beat an egg in a bowl and stirred in a generous tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.


Just before the spaghetti became ‘al dente’, I melted a generous tablespoon of butter and stirred in bare tablespoon of anchovy paste. You can omit this, if you like, but the addition lends a lovely umami depth to many pasta sauces without giving it in sort of ‘fishy’ taste.


When the pasta was done, I drained it and reserved just a little of the pasta water. I dropped the pasta into my butter and cooked it, adding a little of the water as the pasta absorbed the butter to make a very thin coating sauce.


Finally, I took the pan from the heat and added in the egg mixture, stirring quickly to coat the spaghetti before the egg could coagulate in clumps. I served it garnished with a sprig of the fresh basil …

If you try this yourself, you might want to increase the amount of Jalapeno for a ‘spicier’ version …


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