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Hey plague!The definitive AZ of the world’s most versatile ingredients | Italian food and drinks

IThirty years after its debut in a British supermarket, plague has captured the hearts of Britain and has become a mid-week dietary savior.And not just the classics Pesto ragenovese form. From chili spikes to truffle incarnations, plague has come a long way since 1991.

“Let’s start with the assumption that it contains herbs, nuts, cheese and oil,” says George Li, chef of Birmingham’s Pizzeria Otto. “Then choose herbs or cheese and adjust everything else to match.” That attitude fascinates purists, but as the AZ of this plague reveals, once about plague. Strict rules are increasingly being ignored due to flavor.

General rules: Mixing seasonings with 250g of soft herbs, 50g of nuts, 50g of hard cheese, one garlic clove, and 150ml to 300ml of oil is enough to sprinkle the sauce on 3-4 meals. You need to make a nice pesto or tap it as a seasoning. But quantity is a matter of personal taste. Freely blend a small amount of ingredients first, then taste and modify until you are satisfied. That is the plague method.


“I have been making the anchovy” plague “for 25 years. I love sweet roasted peppers and bland foods like eggs and mozzarella, “says food writer Diana Henry. Her recipe for Cook Simple (Mitchell Beasley) whisks 50g of drained anchovies, 1 garlic, 70g of pine nuts, 100ml of olive oil, lemon juice and pepper.


As a testament to the conceptual diversity of the plague, Gambas in Bristol reinvented it via Spain. Boil 170g of broad beans in boiling water for 2 minutes, peel with a food processor, pulse, 2 tablespoons of finely grated manchego, 1 tablespoon of roasted almonds, 10 finely chopped mint leaves, 1 tablespoon of crushed garlic, Mix roughly. Taste 150 ml of Spanish broad bean olive oil, salt and lemon juice. “There is a texture,” says chef Mark Chapman. “We use it with fish and lambs.”

Can you cook with it?

Legally, yes. From pastry bake to delicious pastries, there are many recipes that encourage it. However, most chefs dislike the idea of ​​cooking with what they consider to be dressings and heating them directly. “You lose all the delicate flavors,” says Si Toft, the chef owner of Aversojo’s dining room. “With tomato stew, you can also chuck dried basil and garlic as a more robust way to get that profile.”

“Plague enhances the flavor. It adds the next level of seasoning with minimal effort,” says Kimberly Hernandez, Chiswick’s Silver Birch chef. But always, its power is developed by garnishing pesto cold, for example, as a top stew or soup, salad dressing, or by mixing it with mayonnaise in a chicken sandwich. You can certainly use pesto to increase the amount of hot food (“toss pesto through roasted potatoes,” encourages London carousel executive chef Ollie Templeton), but after cooking.

Dairy products

Pest demands finely grated Parmesan cheese mixed with Sardinian pecorino, right? Not always. Old Winchester and hard, mature cheddar are considered interesting British alternatives by chefs who hold back food mileage. Lee uses “almost emulsified” soft, spicy goat cheese (3: 1 tarragon and cheese) to make a salad dressing-style nut-free tarragon pesto. Roast the beetroot with pickled fennel and rocket. “

Taste your oil first. Photo: fcafotodigital / Getty Images

Extra virgin olive oil

Please taste before you start. Obviously pepper, butter, or grass-like oils can upset the balance of delicate basil pesto. Mild oils such as rapeseed are increasingly used to make herbs shine.


When it comes to classic plague preparation, there is a standoff between the pestle and pestle militants and the wings of a more practical food processor. However, Templeton proposes a third method. He mechanically blends basil, garlic and oil, apart from parmesan nuts and pine nuts, folds the two together and modifies them as needed. You are not at the mercy of the blender. “


Home of the extraordinary Basil Pest. “Genoa’s soft and sweet basil has a DOP rating, and Ligurian olive oil is better because it’s milder than Tuscany,” says Avi Nash Chassidara, chef at Fitzlovia’s Paris Hill. Place such pesto on top of minestrone or – add a small amount of milk to smooth it (“not enough to taste”) – Fasoletti (((Or silk handkerchief) A small cube of pasta, green beans and potatoes.

Fettuccine pasta in red Sicilian pesto.
Fettuccine pasta in red Sicilian pesto. Photo: badmanproduction / Getty Images / iStockphoto

How to dress pasta

Drain the pasta, but leave a few spoons of starchy cooking water. Mix the pesto and it should have a creamy texture and stick completely to the pasta. Chef Pip Lacey, co-founder of Hicce in London, says take this away from the heat. “Putting pesto in a hot pan usually ends with the cheese sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. It can cause greasy confusion.”

Intense heat

OK, not all chefs refuse to cook in pesto. At Otto, Lee prepares an OTT pesto to add to the pizza (neutral olive oil, twice as much parmesan cheese and garlic, lemon juice and rind). It “deforms completely in the oven. Most of the savory garlic is fried and the enthusiasm revives.” Use that trick to flavor grilled or roasted meat and vegetables. “Finally, put in a punchy pesto and put it in a very hot oven to flush.”

Kale ... delicious and salty.
Kale … delicious and salty. Photo: Nicholas Burningham / Alami


Lemon juice is a professional chef’s secret weapon. With careful use, a splash of juice or a pinch of enthusiasm can inject a very bright glow into everything from spagbols to many types of fresh pesto.


Brad Carter, the chef-owner of Carters of Moseley in Birmingham, blanched two-thirds, drained, and squeezed kale into one-third basil, garlic, standard amounts of roasted chestnuts, rapeseed oil, and “umami salt.” It is made by combining it with the old Winchester of “Umami”. “British pesto. Sprinkle on salad, pork and venison.”


Liguria Trophy (Slight twist) And Trenette (Slightly wide linguine), often advertised as the definitive pasta for pesto. But linguine is a convenient supermarket compromise.

Prepare pesto aragenovese in a mortar.
Prepare pesto aragenovese in a mortar. Photo: Getty Images

Mortar and mortar

Purists consider it a sacrifice for carving basil and insist that the plague material should be gently driven and submitted. Super grumpy insists on a wooden pestle and a marble mortar.


Almonds, sunflower seeds, or hazelnuts can replace pine nuts (pumpkin seeds are also 70% cheaper). Edinburgh’s Twelve Triangles bakery uses sourdough crumbs instead of nuts. “Breads with a high proportion of whole grains or rye add a nice nutty caramel flavor,” says co-owner Emily Caddford. Little chart room chef Roberta Hall McCarron, a fellow foodie of Edinburgh, eats “simple” walnut pesto (75g basil, 40g nuts, 20g Parmesan cheese, garlic) on top of smoked fish. Make about 1 piece of 1 clove and 75 ml of oil) Bitter leaf Cichorium salad.

Olives ... Great as part of a vegetable pizza base.
Olives … Great as part of a vegetable pizza base. Photo: Angelo Chiariello / Alami


Plagues made from green vegetables such as spinach and peas (one-third of the same weight as basil) may lack “punch,” Lee says. solution? “A handful of green olive blitz. I like pasta, but it can also be used as a vegetable pizza base.”


Simplified take of Provencal pesto: Basil and garlic cheese and nut-free explosion.


From the pestle and food processor to blanching basil to keep it lush, the details of the classic Genovese pesto are controversial. Release your mind and urge Lee. “Ultimately, the taste of plague should invalidate the rules. The rules are often inconsistent depending on who you talk to.”

Roasted garlic

“Raw garlic can be overwhelming,” says Hicce’s Lacey. “So I roast the garlic bulbs with foil. [180C (350F)/Gas Mark 4 for 30-45 mins]Now squeeze out the soft and sweet cloves for use. “

Sicilian red plague

Created in Trapani and served with traditionally busy pasta, this pesto utilizes the rich and wonderful tomatoes of Sicily. To make 200g, mix 50g of sun-dried tomatoes, 10g of basil, 30g of toasted almonds and pecorino, 20g of cherry tomatoes and half cloves of garlic with oil. “It’s great for bruschetta,” says Emilia Strazzanti of online deli tops with grilled oiled and salted sourdough Pesto trapanese, Basil and mozzarella cheese. “I also love mixing it with fresh tomatoes and adding creamy burrata.”

The toasted pine nuts ... enhance the flavor.
The toasted pine nuts … enhance the flavor. Photo: Lauri Patterson / Getty Images

Toasted nuts

Lightly toast the nuts to enhance the flavor. Don’t burn them, otherwise the plague will be bitter.


In Liverpool’s Belzan, the deep and delicious flavors of pesto (thank you, nuts and parmesan) are skillfully raised. Chef Sam Grainger added dried seaweed (3 pieces) to rich wild garlic and parsley pesto (300 g of herbs, 50 g of Parmesan cheese, 150 ml of rapeseed oil, seasoned with lemon juice and rice wine vinegar), and new potatoes. Or sprinkle on the roasted potatoes with a spoon. “Seaweed gives it another level.”


“Change cheese, nuts and herbs. Experiment!” London Manteca chef Chris Reach has previously served rigatoni with pumpkin seeds and anchovy chili pesto. 100g of seeds, 1 garlic, 5 anchovies, 20g of parsley, and a pinch of pepper flakes should be enough oil and enough for 4 parts. Finish the pasta with a hard ricotta salad. Any soft herbs or leafy vegetables, from lavage to watercress, can be used to rock the pesto. Andrew Green, the chef of Ducie Street Warehouse in Manchester, proposes a “Pepperly” 50-50 rocket basil mix. Or, “Replace the leaves with roasted peppers. Play around with the principles.”

Wild garlic leaves ... a valuable alternative to basil.
Wild garlic leaves … a valuable alternative to basil. Photo: jirkaejc / Getty Images / iStockphoto

Wild garlic

A valuable alternative to basil during the season. Makes a mellow pesto like garlic. Blend with sweet cashew nuts to remove the bitterness of wild garlic.

Xanthan gum

Plague thickeners that can cause anger in Italy, such as bamboo fiber and potato starch.


Nutritional yeast (2 tablespoons to 150 g of basil) is used to mimic cheese-free vegan pesto Parmesan cheese. However, London Flor chef Pam Young advises that you can also play “using ingredients that give your body a deep umami taste, such as miso and sun-dried tomato paste.”

Zucchini ... Ideal for raw vegetables.
Zucchini … Ideal for raw vegetables. Photo: Picture Partners / Alamy


“Pest is great for raw vegetables,” says Green. “Try wearing a freshly peeled zucchini ribbon. It’s delicious.”

Hey plague!The definitive AZ of the world’s most versatile ingredients | Italian food and drinks

Source link Hey plague!The definitive AZ of the world’s most versatile ingredients | Italian food and drinks

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