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by Mario Batali

Corzetti with Pesto: Ligurian Pasta Specialty Recipe

Genovese basil is the preferred variety when making pesto, especially in the northwesterly region of Liguria. Ligurians make a religion of their devotion to the herb.

What we commonly think of as "pesto" is only one variety of the sauce. Pesto genovese is the basil pesto native to the Ligurian coast. The beauty of pesto genovese is that it's a no-cook pasta sauce. Combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor or with a mortar and pestle. Add Pargmigiano-Reggiano and olive oil, and mix to your desired consistency. A lot of people misconstrue pesto as a wet sauce. In my house (and at Babbo) it's fairly dry. Thin it using the pasta cooking liquid to achieve your desired consistency.

You will note that I do not cook the pasta in the sauce as I have always suggested. In this case, I prefer the sauce to be completely raw, so be sure and the cook the pasta all the way, and be sure and toss the whole shebang in a warmed salad bowl and serve it immediately. It will never be piping hot, but in Liguria it never is.

Corzetti with Pesto: Ligurian Pasta Specialty Recipe

Courtesy of Mario Batali

Pesto:

3 tablespoons pine nuts

2 cups Genovese basil (may sub regular basil)

1 garlic clove

Pinch of sea salt

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus extra for sprinkling

3 tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese

1 1/4 cups extra virgin olive oil

Corzetti:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

4 extra-large eggs

1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

Semolina flour

2 tablespoons salt

To make pesto, combine pine nuts, basil, garlic, and sea salt and process to a paste. Add the cheeses and drizzle in the olive oil. Store in a jar, topped with oil until ready to use. Makes 2 1/2 cups.

To make the corzetti, mound 3 1/2 cups of the flour in the center of a large wooden cutting board. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the eggs and the olive oil. Using a fork, beat together the eggs and oil and begin to incorporate the flour, starting with the inner rim of the well.

As you expand the well, keep pushing the flour up from the base of the mound to retain the well shape. The dough will come together when half of the flour is incorporated.

Start kneading the dough with both hands, using the palms of your hands. Once you have a cohesive mass, remove the dough from the board and scrape up and discard any leftover bits. Lightly re-flour the board and continue kneading for six more minutes. The dough should be elastic and a little sticky. Wrap the dough in plastic and allow to rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Roll out the pasta dough to the thinnest setting on a pasta machine. Using a hand stamp, cut out 2-inch circles. Place the corzetti on sheet trays that have been sprinkled with semolina flour and cover with a clean towel until ready to cook.

Bring about 6 quarts of water to a boil and add about 2 tablespoons of salt. Add corzetti and cook thoroughly, about 3 minutes or until they float.

Place 1 cup of the pesto in a warmed salad bowl. Drain the corzetti, reserving a little of the cooking water. Transfer the pasta to the salad bowl and toss quickly but gently like a salad. Adjust the texture with the reserved pasta water if it seems too tight. Sprinkle with Parmigiano Reggiano and serve immediately.

Pasta Recipe, Italian Cuisine

 

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Article: Copyright © 2013, Tribune Media Services Inc.

"Corzetti with Pesto: Ligurian Pasta Specialty"

 

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