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Creole pesto? The real difference between Italian sauce and the one we use in the classic green noodle

Clarification: This article was originally published on October 21, 2014 on the Sobremesa blog and was updated in September 2021.

Pesto is a wonderful (and very healthy) sauce that can have a thousand and one uses. The first and most common is to pour it over a good portion of al dente pasta, whatever its shape, type or filling. But the possibilities are much wider: from pizzas to salads, going through hearty quinoa bowls. Lima was the gateway for a large colony of Genoese that populated the capital since the beginning of the 20th century. With them came the pesto and on these coasts that sauce based on basil, parmesan and walnuts -or pine nuts- was transformed to adopt more Creole touches. Peruvians like to put our seasoning on everything and pesto was no exception.

Each house has its own way of preparing it; Adding green beans and chopped carrots is still one of the most traditional versions of consuming this sauce. However, the sweet spot is not always achieved. Sometimes it becomes vinegary; others the cheese invades all flavors; in others it dries quickly and the pasta is all made into a mazacote. It is a simple sauce to make, but very careful. Give it the respect it deserves.

A few years ago we visited the cook Cinzia Repetto when she was running Los Bachiche, an Italian-Peruvian restaurant where we learned how to prepare two types of pesto (Creole and Genoese), as well as the perfect complement for a portion of spaghetti with pesto: the veal tapa milanesa. Here you will find all the tips and secrets to make this dish a real success.

Ingredients:

(For 1 kilo of pesto approx.)

10 garlic cloves, peeled

1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

1 CD of salt

30 grams of walnuts

350 grams of basil leaves

1/4 of red onion

50 grams of fresh cheese

150 grams of spinach leaves

1 cup of vegetable broth

preparation:

First, chop the onion in a feather and the garlic in halves. Heat a good jet of olive oil in a frying pan and sauté the spinach and basil together with the chopped onion and garlic. Season with salt and reserve.

Place the mixture on a tray to cool. Once it is done, blend it with the grated Parmesan cheese, salt, walnuts, fresh cheese and the vegetable stock (on high speed). It is important to add the olive oil in the form of a thread, not all at once. Check the salt and reserve in the refrigerator.

(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)
(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)

Ingredients:

(For 1 kilo of pesto approx.)

10 garlic cloves, peeled

1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese

1 CD of salt

100 grams of walnuts

250 grams of basil leaves

(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)
(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)

preparation:

Using a mixer or a blender (not the blender, because it heats), mix the basil well, the peeled garlic cloves – Cinzia trick: crush them with your hands before incorporating them – the Parmesan cheese (you have to be generous with this) and walnuts with olive oil.

Once ready, place the preparation in a container and cover it with a splash of olive oil to avoid the formation of a dark crust. Reserve in refrigeration.

Ingredients:

(For two servings)

400 grams of beef cap, without fat, without ribs, cut into 2 pieces of 200 grams.

50 grams of unprepared flour

1 egg

100 grams of ground bread

70 grams of unsalted butter

Salt to taste

Absorbent paper

preparation:

Flatten the veal between two thick plastic bags until it is half a centimeter thick and the meat is well spread. * Note to reader: this can be an ideal stress-busting exercise.

(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)

Once the desired texture is achieved, season the stretched veal with salt and pass it through flour. Have on hand two beaten eggs in a bowl and the ground bread. Bring the floured meat to the egg and then to the bread. A few more taps and it’s ready to fry.

(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)

Heat the butter in a frying pan and brown each breaded on both sides. It will take 2 to 3 minutes each.

When it is nice and crisp, remove from the pan and dry with absorbent paper.

(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)
(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)

Pasta

Ingredients:

(For two)

240 grams of spaghetti (durum grain)

30 grams of unsalted butter

40 grams of grated Parmesan cheese

Salt to taste

preparation:

Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water (family tip: add salt once the water has boiled, never before). When al dente, transfer the spaghetti to a hot buttered skillet. Sauté and add the two pests.

(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)
(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)
(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)

Add a little more Parmesan cheese and integrate everything very well. With much, much love.

Serve the generous portion of pasta topped with the Milanese.

(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)

Ready. Let each one choose whether to share it with their loved one or to enjoy it selfishly. Both ideas are valid. There is one last suggestion: it would not hurt to accompany this dish of Huancaína sauce. It is optional, of course.

(Photo: Aníbal La Torre)

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