Basil is in its prime at present and the other day I made a big batch of pesto.
A couple of weeks ago, in Sydney, I attended Gusto which was organised by CIRA at the Sydney seafood School. As its name suggests this was a gala day, a magnificent celebration of all things to do with Italian regional food.
Of course Australia is too young a country to have truly regional recipes, but we have regional produce which is what we so vigorously promote on this site.
All the participating restaurants at Gusto had work stations in the dining area and Lucio’s a long-time favourite Italian restaurant in this city, was serving a dish I had never seen before and it was my favourite of all the dishes being served. Lucio himself gave me the details and it was only days before I just had to try it out.
It is one of the simplest, heartiest, and most tasty dishes. We ate it as a main course, but I am sure it could accompany a luscious ragù or a casserole.
TESTAROLI – so simple you don’t need quantities. Allow about 1-2 pancakes per person.
As a guide, 2 cups of flour makes 5-6 pancakes and serves about 4 people.
Place the flour and a little salt into a large bowl and mix together. Add enough water, whisking well to make a smooth thickish batter – like thickened cream or custard.
Pour enough into a greased non-stick frypan to make a thick (about 1/4cm) pancake. Cook until set on top, flip over and cook for a further 20 seconds or so, then continue until the rest of the batter is used up, stacking the pancakes on top of each other.
When ready to serve, half fill a large pot with water, add a little salt, and bring to the boil. Meanwhile cut the pancakes into rough diamond shapes about 4cm long. Don’t be too particular about the dimensions. This is a rustic dish.
Drop the pancake pieces a few at a time into the water, allowing plenty of room to move, and skim them out after about 2 minutes when they rise to the top.
Toss with pesto and serve hot in bowls topped with grated parmesan and freshly ground black pepper. Serves as many as you need.
Deliziosa! Grazie mille, Lucio!