Maidenstears and Montasio Pesto
In Friuli Venezia Giulia diciamo sempre “Ognun al bale con so agne” che letteralmente significa “Ognuno balla con sua zia”, ma che nella realtà vuol dire che ognuno deve arrangiarsi con quello che ha.
Sclopit, Silene Vulgaris, il re delle erbe di primavera dei campi in Friuli Venezia Giulia
In Friuli Venezia Giulia we always say “Ognun al bale cun so agne.” Literally translated it means “Everybody dance with their own aunt”, but the real meaning is that everybody should deal with what they got.
Friuli Venezia Giulia’s cuisine is the result of the multiple invasions from the north that perpetuated throughout our history. Our food was more influenced by Austria and Slovenia than by the rest of Italy. That’s why we can’t say that pesto is a traditional sauce here. I usually do my own pesto in the summer but it’s not part of our tradition.
On the other hand, every spring, fields of Friuli Venezia Giulia fill with wild herbs. Our spring cuisine tastes of dandelion, wild garlic, nettles, mint, wild chives, and the king of our fields: the Sclopit (Silene Vulgaris, bladder campion, or maidenstears). Frittatas, raviolis and risotto all color in green.
Maidenstears is so beloved in this part of Italy that even big supermarkets sell it. We usually eat it cooked (see my recipe for cjarsosns), but this time I decided to use it raw and make pesto out of it.
That’s how I created my own Sclopit and Montasio Pesto.
A tasty sauce to flavor your favorite type of pasta or make bruschetta. You can thank me later.
Ingredients for two people:
- 25 gr of sclopit leaves
- 50 ml of olive oil
- 20 gr of parmesan or parmesan
- 30 gr of seasoned Montasio
- 10gr of pine nuts or almonds
- ½ clove of garlic
- 1 pinch of coarse salt
How to prepare the Maidenstears Pesto
Clean the sclopit by removing the stems. Wash the leaves and let them drain. Meanwhile, chop the half clove of garlic with a few grains of coarse salt. Add the sclopit leaves with a couple of ice cubes (to keep the gravy looking green) and mix.
Add the pine nuts or almonds and continue chopping, then add the cheeses as well.
Lastly, mix with olive oil until you get a cream.
You can use the sauce immediately to season pasta. If you want to give more crunch you can add a few cubes of toasted speck to the dish.
Preservation: 2-3 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator with a layer of oil on top. I always prepare a few more portions of pesto with Sclopit and Montasio and keep it in the freezer to always have ready a taste of spring.