Pappardelle with spring herb pesto

piatto di Pappardelle con pesto di erbe spontanee primaverili

This recipe uses what is perhaps the most ancient cheese of Friuli, a region in the northeast corner of Italy. In an old historical document this cheese is described as “… soft, delicate, white and almost spongy it is very pleasant to the palate and it decorates the wealthiest tables of Venice, Trieste and the neighboring cities”. If you can’t find Asìno cheese you can substitute it with stracchino or a soft brie (without the rind).

Ingredients for 4 people:

  • 250 gr. Filotea egg pappardelle
  • 200 gr. fresh dandelion leaves
  • 200 gr. silene shoots (also known as campion or maidenstears)
  • 70 gr. young Asìno cheese
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts
  • turmeric to taste
  • extra virgin olive oil

Preparation

Wash the dandelion leaves carefully and remove the non-edible parts. Thoroughly clean the silene shoots. Blanch the herbs in two separate pans. Drain the herbs and chop them coarsely.

Sauté a clove of garlic and a bay leaf in a large skillet with some extra virgin olive oil, add the chopped dandelion and silene and stir well in order to enrich the flavour then add a little salt and add a pinch of pepper.

At this point turn off the heat and let the mixture stand in the pan for about 30 minutes. Remove the bay leaf and clove of garlic, pour the mixture in the bowl of a blender along with the Asìno cheese, pine nuts and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, drain al dente and quickly toss in the freshly prepared pesto.

Put a nest of pappardelle in the center of the plate, place a small quenelle of pesto on top, and dust the rim of the plate with turmeric. Decorate with fresh flowers and a tuft of dandelion and silene and enjoy!

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