.: In the pines nuts

Most songs talk of love, because love is what tear us apart, pushes us forward and makes us feel alive in pleasure and pain. Love can be found everywhere, if your eyes are open. Le canzoni che parlano d’amore di riff o di raff sono la stragrande maggioranza, perchè l’amore è dappertutto, se i vostri occhi sono wide open. E forse continuiamo a suonare e a cantare la stessa canzone di struggimento da sempre, come da sempre continuiamo a mangiare le stesse cose, infondo. Maybe we’ve been singing the same old songs since the beginning of times, and maybe we go on eating the same foods…  just because we live on the same planet of our ancestors.

Pinoli, pine nuts, are the seeds of Pinus pinea, a mediterranean pine, and humans have been eating them since the Paleolithic, the Stone Age. Dal paleolitico mangiamo pinoli, ci amiamo e cantiamo… melodie di sapori dolce-amaro, che ci ricordano quanto siamo legati al resto della vita su questo piccolo, fantastico pianeta.

Maybe Pesto and “In the pines” were born about the same years, towards the end of 1800, and both have more more ancient origins, which echo in their flavours and in their taste of something melancholic and fresh.

“In the Pines”, also known as “Where Did You Sleep Last Night?” and “Black Girl”, is a traditional American folk song originating from two songs, “In the Pines” and “The Longest Train”, both of which whose authorship is unknown and date back to at least the 1870s.


The introduction of basil, the main ingredient of modern pesto, occurred in more recent times and is first documented only in the mid-19th century, when gastronomist Giovanni Battista Ratto published his book La Cuciniera Genovese in 1863:

“Take a clove of garlic, basil or, when that is lacking, marjoram and parsley, grated Dutch and Parmigiano cheese and mix them with pine nuts and crush it all together in a mortar with a little butter until reduced to a paste. Then dissolve it with good and abundant oil. Lasagne and Trofie are dressed with this mash, made more liquid by adding a little hot water without salt.”


Today I celebrate the love inside this tiny and delicate jar of pesto my mum made for me… just to let me know how deep and ancient is her love.

25 gr basil leaves – foglie di basilico (ben asciutte!)
15 gr pecorino grated cheese – Pecorino grattugiato
8 gr pine nuts – pinoli
50 ml evo oil – olio evo
35 gr parmigiano reggiano grattugiato
1/2 clove of garlic – 1/2 spicchio di aglio
a bit of coarse salt – sale grosso un pizzico

Note: basil leaves must be dry and you don’t have to overheat them, or they’ll become black. You can chop them with a mixer, but you better put the blade in the freezer, before using it; and use it at a low speed.

Non surriscaldate il basilico, altrimenti diventa nero. Se lo sminuzzate con un robot, mettete le lame in freezer prima dell’uso e usate una velocità bassa.

With the pestel, smash the garlic with the salt. Smash the basil with it, then the pine nuts. Add the cheeses and the oil in the end.

Pestare l’aglio con il sale. Pestare insieme anche il basilico. Pestare insieme i pinoli. Aggiungere i formaggi mescolando e per ultimo l’olio a filo.

This is the classic recipe, but many other versions exist. Some, for example, don’t use garlic. And you can put it in small portion-jars and freeze it. My mommy does it for me 😀

So I cook the classic Bavette (long type of pasta)…

warm up the pesto in a pan…

and finish it all with a bit more of extra parmigiano-reggiano 😀

You will be dazzled to know how many renditions exists of this song (like many versions of pesto !). It is really one of those who make the backbone of human feelings ever. Una canzone che continua ad attraversare i secoli… forse perchè fa eco ad emozioni che tutti abbiamo dentro.

Black girl, black girl, don’t lie to me
Where did you stay last night?
I stayed in the pines where the sun never shines
And shivered when the cold wind blows


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