Although the party season throughout December and early January is all about festive treats, I still always stick to my favourite cuisine: Italian. Sure, for Christmas Day, Boxing Day and all the usual key dates, you’ll find me divulging into turkey with the trimmings, ham, pigs in blankets, roasties and all the festive usual’s.
However, when I’m cooking for a gathering either side of Christmas, I can’t help but rustle up something along the Italian line. And pesto’s and pastas always come into play. A lovely Italian inspired pasta is easy to create, which means I can talk to my guests, sip from a glass of fizz every now and again, play hostess and serve up something delicious without any stress.
I didn’t used to be that adventurous though. I’d tend to opt for a green or red pesto, toss it into some penne tubes, sprinkle over some parmesan and voila, pasta is served.
But I recently discovered there is a whole new world to Pesto. Why haven’t I explored the SACLA brand before? Rather than just my usual ‘red or green pesto’, I noticed that SACLA have launched some new flavours perfect for the foodie season going on right now!
SACLA’s new range of special Pesto includes Truffle and ‘Nduja, a spicy Italian sausage, aiming to add a little something special to meals. I first decided to try the Truffle Pesto, so lets have a look at why I’m hooked:
The Truffle Pesto is created from a Black Summer Truffle, which thrives in open woodlands and is a jewel in Italy’s gastronomic crown. It gets hunted throughout the Summer and found only by its pungent aroma, meaning it has a remarkable flavour.
This rich Truffle Pesto is made with blending Black Summer Truffles, cashew nuts and pine nuts, and in my opinion, it transforms fresh pasta. However, it’s also a brilliant pesto to coat your chicken with before roasting it. Roasted Truffle Chicken….. mmmmmm delicious.
I actually tossed the truffle pesto into penne pasta, mixed with black pepper, sliced ham, chorizo and mushroom. The taste is creamy and indulgent, and you can find some awesome recipe inspirations over on the SACLA site here.
So lets talk about my next new discovery, in which I polished off two pots in two days flat!
So I see ‘Nduja appear on many Italian menus, and remember asking a waiter a few years back what it means. It of course means an Italian salami like sausage, spicier than Spanish Chorizo, made with pork and plenty of local chilli peppers.
‘Nduja originally hails from Calabria, the region right on the toes of Italy, where fiery red Calabrian chillies feature highly (and hotly) in the regional cuisine. The soft, giant sausage is smoked and matured and results in a soft, spreadable sensational paste. You’ll find Calabrians enjoy it with bread, cheese and of course, pasta of course. The SACLA ‘Nduja Pesto is blended with basil, nuts, oil and umami. Mmmmmmm….
I again have been mixing this into penne pasta and meats, along with a lovely glass of red wine. However, I also spied it’s a great pizza base topping, can be pasted onto the top of fish, and even made into spicy soups!
I looked at the rest of the pesto offerings from SACLA and spied a few other goodies I could do with topping up my cupboards with. These include Chargrilled Aubergine, Roasted Pepper, Fresh Coriander and Fiery Chilli.
If there’s a new years resolution I’m going to try and stick to, it’s to be more adventurous with my food and try out new recipes often. So I think I’ll start with Italian – obviously!