Today I'm sharing with you another great lunch or dinner idea, which is easy to make but so incredibly delicious to taste.
Today's recipe is for Crispy Baked Potatoes with incredibly cheesy vegan cashew Pesto!
The potatoes are baked but because of the form and high oven temperature, they came out crispy from the outside and amazingly soft and fluffy from the inside. And the pesto on top perfectly complements them with needed good fats and of course a fantastic bouquet of tastes!
I hope you enjoy this recipe along with some history of pesto :)
To trace the history of pesto, you need to go back to the 12th and 13th centuries, when the Genoan republic stretched south from the northern Italian port city to encompass both Corsica and Sardinia.
Pesto evolved to make use of the republic's rich bounty: basil from nearby Prà; pine nuts grown near Pisa; garlic from Vessalico; pecorino from Sardinia; parmigiano reggiano from Emilia-Romagna; and Ligurian olive oil and sea salt. Some even think that pasta, adapted from imported Chinese noodles, found its first foothold in Italy around this time.
Pesto has been inexorably linked with Genoa’s culture ever since. Today, not only does the city host a bi-annual World Pesto Championship, open to competitors from around the world, but a band of enterprising pesto enthusiasts plan to put the sauce forward as a candidate for UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
Among the fresh herbs, basil is king. The name comes from the Greek “basileus” which means king or emperor and is an apt title for such a fragrant and delicious herb.
Basil has been used for centuries in the Mediterranean, but it was the Genoese of Liguria who gave pesto to the world: a staple in the history of Italian cuisine. This is the sauce that comes to mind when one thinks of pesto. Just south of this famous port city is yet another pesto region that has made its mark. The Cinque Terre area hugs the rocky coast, producing a unique microclimate that gives the pesto produced here a slightly different quality from its better-known cousin made in Genoa. The subtle differences in climate in such a small area give the basil and olive oil from this region a taste and mouth-feel that demands respect.
What these traditional pestos share is the care in preparation, using time-honored techniques that maintain the integrity of the flavor. Pesto from this region is prepared using the standard marble mortar and a wooden pestle that mashes the plant fibers into a paste – releasing the all-important oils and aromas into the pesto. Purists would never use a chef’s knife to cut the basil or a food processor to blend the sauce.
Just as important as the preparation of the pesto is what type of pasta is used. Ligurians will think immediately of trofie, or trenette (a sort of flattened spaghetti), the latter often served with pesto, potatoes and green beans.
As stated earlier, Liguria does not have a monopoly on pesto. If the green variety is quintessentially Ligurian, there are other pestos in Italy worth of trying. Let’s get to know some of them.
“Red” and Other Types of Pesto
While pesto that is any color but green may be unfamiliar, it is well worth sampling these other variations. And even among green pestos the ingredients can change from region to region and can include other “greens” such as broccoli, flat-leaf parsley and even mint.
These varieties are a pleasant surprise to anyone who thinks they know pesto and are looking for something different. Also, many of these types can be faithfully reproduced in your own kitchen and are a great way to experiment with the other green pestos.
Red pesto, which contains either fresh or sun-dried tomatoes, has become very popular and is sold alongside its green counterpart in Italy and abroad. The variety made in the Cinque Terre adds sun-dried tomatoes to otherwise traditional pesto, but it takes on a whole new character from the intense, bright yet earthy flavor of the tomatoes. Sicilian pestos are a whole different world and can contain ingredients like capers, chilies, raisins, anchovies, fennel and mint. These southern pestos are thicker and richer than their Ligurian counterparts and are often spicy to accommodate Sicilian tastes.
Many of these “non-traditional” pestos use toasted pine nuts instead of fresh, which adds a little complexity to the sauce. In fact many regional pestos, green or red combine or substitute the expensive pine nuts with a locally grown nut such as pistachios or, as in the popular Trapanese pesto from Sicily, almonds.*source
Find the recipe below!
Prep: 15 min
Cook time: 1 h
Servings: 8 portions
Calories per serving: 304 kcal
Find the recipe & nutrition facts below :
For the crispy potatoes:
8 medium potatoes
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dry garlic
For the cashew pesto:
1 cup fresh basil
2 strings spring onion
1 clove garlic
1/3 cup baked cashews
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 cup + 1 tbsp olive oil
Step 1: Preheat oven to 220C.
Step 2: Wash the potatoes and cut them with a sharp knife trying to achieve thin slices but carefully as you should not reach the bottom of the potatoes, overwise they won't stay as it is shown in the picture (if you are not sure how to cut them without reaching the bottom of the potatoes, place a thin barbeque stick in the potatoes horizontally, to make sure you won't cut them through).
Step 3:Place them on a cooking tray and brush evenly with oil, sprinkle with some salt, pepper and garlic.
Step 4: Bake them for around 45-55 min. or until they look crispy(if not sure, make a toothpick test).
Step 5: Meanwhile, let's make the cashew pesto by simply placing all of the ingredients for it in the food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. (the pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days(as the amount is more than you may need for the potatoes)).
Step 6: Serve the potatoes hot with some pesto on top.