Antonella's freshly prepared Pesto

One of the truly remarkable discoveries of the past thousand years is the amazing combination of basil leaves, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil and grana padano – Pesto is without doubt the most delightful of condiments.

Every time I make the sojourn to my corporate headquarters, my first stop after indulging in a local stracchino pizza is down to Antonella’s store in Nervi (as seen on Google Street View) where I stock up her freshly prepared Pesto, wines and tasty tasty cheese.

The pesto is so damn good that my girlfriend won’t let me return to Belgium without a fresh supply, which leads to us eating Pesto at great volume for a week until the ever lasting pot finally gives way to emptiness.

Today she’s out working on the boats (link), so I’m at home on lunch duty. To prepare a batch of the most amazing pasta in the world, here’s what you’ll need:

  1. Pesto from Antonella’s store (you may have to fly to Genova for this)
  2. A pot
  3. Water in the pot
  4. Salt to put in the water in the pot
  5. A source of heat underneath the salted water in the pot
  6. Pasta (your choice of variant) to put in the pot once the salted water in the pot is boiling
  7. Six to ten minutes of waiting for pasta to cook in the boiling salted water in the pot
  8. Drain pasta, preserving the cup of pasta broth
  9. Put pesto in with pasta, slop some of the broth in with it (don’t let it get too runny)
  10. Grate some parmigiano reggiano over the top
  11. Eat the most amazing meal of your life.

My lunch for the week...

An equally tasty variation of this simple dish is  ‘Penne alla Portofino‘, where we add some tomato passata (mashed up tomato, boiled for a while), which is quite popular when you’re down to the last scoop of Antonella’s pesto.

In short, go to Genova, camp out in Nervi for a while, and spend a lot of money at Antonella’s store on Via Oberdan, Nervi. You’ll love yourself for it. She’s been working the same store the past 27 years, and is terrified of the fattening properties of Belgian chocolates. She also doesn’t understand why an Australian would choose to live in ‘the grey and silly Belgium’.

Without access to her Pesto, sometimes I wonder what I’m doing here too!