Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Pirate Pasta al pesto

Useless chats

Traditional recipe for Mediterranean pirates, Pasta al Pesto is even more famous because it must be prepared using a mortar, a typical siege tool well known by many sturdy buccaneers.

Ingredients like basil, pecorino, Parmesan, gunpowder and garlic make this recipe particularly loved by many pirates, that see in the thick twist of linguine another proof of love from Our Noodley Lord, even if in a green summer dress.


A note

As an Italian pirate, I feel more confident with the International System of Units. That means grams and liters, in a kitchen. I know that many of you comes from different seas, so I pot all the measures in grams. That's easy: they are proportional! So you can just substitute the word grams with the your preferred unity of measure, and you'll get your recipe. Sure, maybe in a weird quantity, but with the correct ingredient proportions: 100 pounds of pasta, 25 pounds of basil and so on. Easy, right?

Otherwise, you can just go there:


Better long shaped, like Spaghetti, linguine or trenette, the original shape for the Ligurian pirates who invented the recipe. Usually about 80/100 grams for wenches, a little more for hungry sea dogs, plus a couple of extra spots for the travellers or doubles.


That must be done, of course. If you are thinking to buy it, this recipe will be just go on your nearest grocery and take it.

To make a good pesto you'll need:


Fresh, 25 grams every 200 grams of pasta. To get it fresh it's better to get it later, when the sun is not burning its leaves. If you get it with a raid at your neighbor's it's even better, because the story of this dangerous challenge will delight your guest during the the meal.

Olive oil

50 grams for 200 grams of pasta. If you remember to put it in the fridge some hours before, that would be great.

Grated cheese, Parmesan or pecorino

Or better a mix of them, depends how good they are and if you want it more tasty (pecorino) or sweet (Parmesan). For example, in Northern Italy Pecorino is soooo bad that I avoid it totally, while in Southern you probably have the opposite situation. You can even choose other grated cheeses, I think, but stay on these! Don't make me say why.

However, you'll need 50 grams of grated cheese for 200 grams of pasta.

Pine nuts

7 or 8 grams can be enough. But they costs more than gold, so sometimes I do the blasphemous act to put walnuts or something else in behalf. In Liguria they probably chase pirate cooks who do this to hang them on the higher pole of the ship, but I'm pretty sure that they could not feel the difference. Indeed they are known to be quite parsimonious, maybe they already do without tell anyone.


Not too much, if you are a social pirate. One slice can be enough for 200 grams of pasta, but it depends. If you comes from Southern France or Korea, you'll probably can't even feel the flavor with one slice, and you'd like to put some more. That's on you. Just don't call it pesto, but pale green Garlic Sauce.

In any case, remember to cut it in half and clean the core.

Salt, pepper, gunpowder

On your taste.


You have to merge all ingredients, except the pasta, that must be boiled in the usual way.

So, first let's put on the water to boil. A liter for every 100 grams, that's the book's suggestion. If you have Italian guests, remember to put the pasta just when the water is boiling, or they'll probably faint and harm themselves with their cutlasses, ruining your dinner.

Caught the basil? Good. It's better not to wash it too much, otherwise the best part will go down in the sink. Sure, it's a raw ingredient, so if your cat is used to sleep and hunt spiders in your garden, maybe we can pass it with a wet towel. In this case, if our guests ask us: "did you wash the basil?" we can say yes, with no lies. Or say no, if you know them as scurvy dogs with no fear of food poisoning.

In any case, basil must be dry as gunpowder at the end. Water is the enemy number 2 in the pesto preparation. Will meet number 1 soon.

There's a strict order to put ingredients in the mortar, but we are pirates, not English officers! And the water is almost boiling, and the guests almost knocking the door, so let's take our fast and faithful friend: the blender. We can see this in the pirate movie "The Goonies", when the Fratelli brothers try to chop Chunk's fingers. So it's a blessed tool, in a certain way.

It's impossibile to chop basil alone with a blender. We have to put all other ingredients together. Here's number 1 enemy: Oxygen. That nasty element oxidise our precious chopped basil, that will quickly turn dark if we do not protect it with an abundant olive oil cover. How to avoid oxidation even more? With cold. That's why oil coming from fridge is even better.

If you put all ingredients in the blender (with exception of pasta and the beer you should be drinking, of course) you'll probably be watching these wonderful green and oily waves spinning inside it. That's true poetry! The second sensorial pleasure moment is when you open the top, and that blessed perfume goes all around the kitchen.

If you did all right, you got this brilliant green and pesto, otherwise it's brown or dark green. Not that beautiful, but good the same. Sure, blended basil is more stressed that the one passed through a mortar, but in this case you'll be much more stressed than the basil, and probably late for your dinner. It's your choice.

So, water is sure boiling. Add the right salt, taste it and taste the pesto too, if you still have to. Don't be too vague here: even the drunken pirate will know if salt is not right. Pepper and gunpowder for pesto are optional. You can decide what's better.

Did it? Dive the pasta.

When it's cooked go with the strainer. Sure it's better to prove that you did the pesto, that's why it's not a bad idea to take it out from the blender in front of your guests. That will make your guests in the right mood, even if your pesto is not the best. Mix all in a bowl and give some to all your hungry buccaneers. It's enough for everyone? Good, you don't have to ask some back to the firsts, that will be already chewing and sure disappointed.

That's my dish.

It's a photo taken some years ago, with two basil leaves too. They have a different color, what an effort. Sorry, taking photos of food with hunger is too difficult for me.


Friday, 14 March 2014

about the meanings of pirate clothes

The lookout in the crow's nest up on the mast of a pirate ship called out that she'd spied a warship on the horizon, heading that way. 

Captain said, "Bring me my red shirt ! (That way, if wounded it wouldn't show and the crew wouldn't be discouraged. (Nor would marinara sauce show, by the way.) )

After a bit, the lookout called out that there were now 12 warships on the horizon.

Said the captain, " Look sprightly and bring me brown pants !"

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Lupin the Third - The Castle of Cagliostro

Probably the best Lupin the 3rd's movie ever, the Castle of Cagliostro offers a lot of action in the smallest and unknown state of Cagliostro, "the smallest state in the world". I don't know where this state is, but it's probably somewhere around Italy, if we look at the huge spaghetti with meatballs tray that Lupin and Jigen get in a tavern.

After a quick conversation with the waitress about rings, princesses and so on, they start with an original spaghetti fight with fork and spoon.

There are no written rules for spaghetti fight, and no instructions left from Our Saucy Lord. They fight it with a fork and a spoon, so that would surely be different from an hypothetical Italian version of the game, which would be played only with a fork.

But at the end the winner in both cases would be Jigen: thanks to a quick rotation of his tools , he creates a huge spaghetti ball, making it bouncing from the tray to his dish. Well played, Jigen, the holy match is yours.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Piratish way to share

A young man saw an elderly pirate couple at a restaurant. He noticed that they had ordered one meal and an extra cup. Being somewhat stereotypical pirates, one had a peg leg and the other had an eye patch.

As he watched, Pirate A carefully divided the fish filet in half, then counted out the fries until each had half of them.

Then Pirate A poured half of the beer into the extra cup and set that in front of Pirate B. Pirate A then began to eat, while Pirate B sat and watched. 

The young man decided to ask if they would allow him to purchase a second meal so that they would not have to split theirs. But Pirate A said, "Oh no. We've been married for 50 years, and everything has always been, and will always be, shared fifty-fifty.

The young man then asked if Pirate B was going to eat. The response? 
"Not yet. It's A's turn with the teeth."

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Death talking between two old pirates

Two old pirates were sitting at the local pub drinking, as they always have a “few” beers. This day, however they were feeling kind of affectionately maudlin.

"So, Alvilda, my buddy.. After I die would you pour a couple of beers over my grave? If you go first, I'll do the same for you."

Alvilda said, "Why certainly! We can do even more beers than that! But so as not to waste 'em, the only thing I’d ask is we could run ‘em through our bladders first?"

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Up and under the table

Two pirate couples were playing poker one evening. Red beard accidentally dropped some cards on the floor, and when he bent down under the table to pick them up, he noticed Barnacle Bill's wife, Sallyforth, wasn't wearing any underwear.

Somewhat shocked by this, John, upon trying to sit back up again, hit his head on the table and since he was a shy pirated, emerged red-faced.

Later, Red Beard went to the galley to get some refreshments. Sallyforth followed and asked, flirtationsly: 'You got up awfully quickly after you dropped the cards. Why’d you bump your head? Was there something you saw that surprised you?'

Encouraged by her boldness, Red Beard admitted that, indeed, he had.

Sallyforth then said, "Well, if you want some, it’ll cost you 500 pieces of eight.'

Red Beard admitted that he was interested, and the price sounded O.K. Sallyforth told him that her husband, Barnacle Bill, worked late Fridays, and that he, John, should show up at her house around 2 p.m.

On Friday, after paying Sallyforth the sum of 500 pieces of eight, Red Beard and Sallyforth retired to the bedroom and 'closed their transaction.' Afterwards, Red Beard quickly dressed and left.

Barnacle Bill came home from work, on schedule, at 6 p.m., and asked his wife out of the blue: 'By the way, did Red Beard come by the house this afternoon?'

With a lump in her throat Sallyforth answered 'Why yes, he did stop by for a few minutes this afternoon.'

'And did he give you 500 pieces of eight?'

Mustering her best poker face, Sallyforth replied, 'Well, as a matter of fact he did. How did you know?'

Barnacle Bill grinned: "Good. Red Beard came by the office this morning and asked me for a short term loan of 500 pieces of eight. He said he'd be able to drop by this afternoon on his way home and give it to you.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

cleaning plates with cold water

A new pirate crew member had just spent his first night aboard ship. Since the ship was freshly provisioned, the cook served eggs and bacon for breakfast.

The new crew member was unusually fastidious for a pirate and noticed a film-like substance on his plate. So he questioned the cook about whether the plate was clean.

Th cook replied, "Those plates are as clean as cold water can get 'em, so go on an' finish yer grub."

That afternoon, while eating lunch, the new mate noticed specks around the edges of his plate and what looked like dried egg yolk. So, he asked again, "Are ye sure these plates are clean?"

Without looking up, the cook growled, "Aarrhh! I told ye afore, them dishes are as clean as cold water can get 'em. Now, don' ask agin !

Later that afternoon, the new mate ran afoul of the cook's dog. "Cook ! Call off yer cur !

Without diverting his attention from the soccer game he was watching on tv, the cook growled, "Coldwater, come here and quit yer bitchin'."