Pesto, this triumph of basil, garlic, and pine nuts has charmed the world. However, in my opinion, considering the memories I keep untouched of Levanto, Liguria is also a synonym of pansoti, less known and less popular the more we move further from Tigullio and the Riviera di Levante. These are ravioli di magro, hence without meat, but rich with herbs and cheese, and seasoned with a sauce of walnuts. An authentic Capolavoro italiano in cucina.
Marco Primiceri and Lucia De Prai, partners in life and in business, patrons of restaurant Duo in Chiavari on the Riviera di Levante in Liguria
Two young cooks, Marco Primiceri and Lucia De Prai presented them at Striscia la notizia in the episode broadcasted on Wednesday 14th April. They opened their restaurant in Chiavari, in the middle of the pandemic. Originally from Rome, she stopped wandering around the world to settle between Genoa and its province. She told us:
«I've spent a few years at Quique Dacosta's in Deina, not far from Alicante. That's where I met Marco with whom, after six months, I returned to Italy to fulfil our dream of having a place of our own. This was in Chiavari, we took over a historic printing business. What with permits and renovations, a year went by. This was in 2019, the following summer we were ready. No, we never said to each other why did we do this».
Primiceri, who's originally from nearby Piedmont, had the pleasure of illustrating pansoti, step by step, with a care that made me look at them under a different light. I always thought the pleasure came from the walnuts, but this is not the case.
Instead, a very different element is enhanced: «Pansoti enhance the herbs, what we now call the art of foraging. They are perfect for giving value to the territory, with what we call preboggion, a green symphony of dandelions, burnet, borage».
And which aromatic herbs? «You should always have marjoram. Cheese? Of course. According to tradition it should be prescinseua, but if you don't have it, you can use ricotta. We prefer caciotta from Val d’Aveto. As for the sauce, we simply blend the walnuts and then make the sauce sweeter with a touch of pine nuts, delicately toasted in the pan».
And all the novelties these two have added in this recipe can also be noticed in the side dish: «Since pansoti are a tribute to wild herbs, including the leaves of red poppies, we also add them to some batter and fry them and serve them on the side. We then serve the same vegetables on top of the pansoti as if it were a salad».
Very pretty, well-thought, almost a double dish that creates a double pleasure. And to replicate at home, here is the recipe from the patrons at Duo and here, instead, is the episode.
born in Milan in March 1955, at Il Giornale for 31 years dividing himself between sports and food, since 2004 he's the creator and curator of Identità Golose.