Each city has its own Pesto.
You might know the famous Pesto alla Genovese. However, pesto is a technique involving the mortar and pestle rather than a recipe. Here in Italy, we have many pestos according to what region it's made in. Doing some research, I noticed that there is a Pesto alla Genovese, a Sicilian Pesto, but no Neapolitan and so I created one for my hometown of Naples.
Allora! I’m that Guy from Naples.
As a kid, I’ve always preferred to be in the kitchen with mum rather than playing football on the street, hence my passion for my local Neapolitan food heritage. Later on, living in Southeast Asia for many years, I discovered a new culinary world that made me love food even more. I’m now based in Naples again doing online and in-person cooking classes, catering, and collaborations with local farmers and food artisans.
I’m excited to be part of the KROK family because they value tradition as much as I do, but at the same time, they don’t see it as a limit for innovation.
So back to creating a pesto for Naples. I did this by choosing a widely used ingredient, adored by the "Neapolitan speakers" and can only be collected in our territory: the friarielli (broccoli rabe). I also noticed that the pestos having the “broccoli” family as the main ingredient do so by cooking them first. So I wanted to keep the "raw preparation" of pestos but use a vegetable that is usually eaten cooked, the friarielli.
Additionally, I have always wondered why in the kitchen some parts of a vegetable are used and others go to the trash. In our case, the Friarielli makes a lot of scraps. In Neapolitan recipes usually, only the tops are used. To counteract this, I often make a very good spread with the leaves and stems. Now, however, we will use the largest “raw” leaves to make the pesto. But this is a winter pesto since the Friarielli "must" be harvested only during winter.
If you can get broccoli rabe, you need to be making this pesto!
1 clove of garlic
Chilli to taste
The leaves from a bunch of broccoli rabe
Half a glass of extra virgin olive oil
A handful of walnuts without the shells
Mortar and Pestle
Rinse the leaves of the broccoli rabe and let them dry.
Take out the edible part of the nuts from the shell. It doesn't matter if they break.
In the mortar, add a pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic. Start pounding until you get a paste, then add half of the walnuts and continue to pound. This operation will ensure that the garlic and nut oils are extracted well.
Next add the broccoli rabe leaves a little at a time and continue to pound, gradually adding the other leaves. Finally, add the remaining walnuts to have a little "crunchiness" in the pesto.
When you have crushed the walnuts to your preference, add the oil slowly, continuing to swirl and pound the pestle until you reach the texture you like.
I cooked spaghetti and seasoned it with the fresh-made pesto, a drizzle of raw oil, and cooking water.
Furthermore, as I mentioned, the texture depends on your taste and uses. I made it less creamy than a Genovese Pesto because I then balanced it with a little fresh oil and the cooking water of the pasta. But feel free to make the recipe yours and use it however you like.
Enjoy your meal!