We've all made our share of pesto in the food processor and it's quick and delicious. But when you watch this charming video of Chef Paolo Laboa of Farina, you will be tempted to try his authentic Genovese method of making pesto with "il cuore" - the heart. When I heard Marcia Gagliardi of Tablehopper describe this dish of pasta in the video, I knew I had to try it - when Marcia raves about a dish, you know it has to be outstanding. But first I needed the real, authentic ingredients that Chef Laboa describes in the video. This was no easy task.
When I was a new mother with my first child in 1989 and I was home for the first time during the day, there was a cooking show on TV that I would watch. It was reruns of a cooking show from the BBC. I loved it so much that I started taping it. I felt like I was the only person watching it. Years later, I took that tape and had it transferred to DVD because it was so important to me and no one in this country seemed to know about this cook. To this day, I still think it's the best cooking show I've ever seen.
The cook was Keith Floyd of Great Britain and the shows, "Floyd on France" and "Floyd on Fish", were shown extensively in the U.K., where he was a household name. They were wonderful travelogue type of shows, with Floyd traipsing all over the countryside, taking over people's kitchens and cooking outdoors a lot. He had a great sense of humor and was so fun to watch, slurping from a glass of wine while he was cooking, arguing with his cameramen, and always flirting with the women he would be cooking with. He was ahead of his time, lecturing about all the things that the "eat local" movement is talking about now. He always referred to the viewers as "gastronauts". The theme music from "The Stranglers" set the tone. To this day, the shows make me laugh out loud.
And he was an amazing cook. He was, so many times, set up in difficult circumstances to cook - he would be outdoors on the banks of a river, whipping up some fish on a hotplate or in some tiny galley kitchen on a boat, cooking up a feast for the crew. He made you think that if he could do that in those circumstances, surely you could whip up some tasty meal in the luxury of your own kitchen. He made the point that it was the ingredients that were the star - if you had the freshest fish, the best quality olive oil, real garlic and herbs, you could make a delicious dish that was not at all complicated.
Can you stand another tomato recipe? I've been cooking a lot with tomatoes lately, but hey - everyone's got an excess of tomatoes right now. Some friends dropped off some of their tomato excess the other night to us (thanks, Brian and Diane!) and that was fine with me. What was I going to do with that many tomatoes? I was going to make my own tomato paste.