DISH ALSO FOR VEGETERIAN
The Testaroli alla Lunigiana is a typical and simple dish of the tradition of Lunigiana and Pontremoli’s area that was already popular in ancient Rome. The Testaroli are a sort of a bread wrap cooked in “testi”, cast-iron or terracotta containers (nowadays you can also cook them in a pan) from which the dish is named after; then they are cut into little squares and once they are boiled and cooled down they are ready to eat: they can be seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, crated pecorino cheese or pesto with basil, pine nuts and garlic. After being cooked, the testarolo looks like a disk of pasta very consistent, elastic and compact that can be preserved in the pantry. The testarolo is a well known specialty that became a member of the Slowfood Association. Today, for the hamlets recipe of the week we’ll learn how to make Testaroli with the classic recipe, cut in squares and seasoned with Ligurian pesto.
Before starting to cook, here’s something you might not know: every year in Fosdinovo they celebrate the Testarolo Festival where you can taste the Fosdinovo variant of this dish that differs from the Lunigiana one because it has a smaller shape, a different preparation and because Fosdinovo Testaroli are not cut, seasoned and served in one plate, but they are stuffed with extra virgin olive oil, pesto, crated pecorino cheese, mushroom sauce, salami, stracchino cheese or other things (also sweet food like hazelnut spread); indeed they are wrapped up and eaten like a sandwich. Are you ready to cook? …Let’s start.
Let’s start by mixing the flour with the tepid water and the salt until you will have a very soft batter. Then you have to heat up the “testo” or a non-stick pan and pour the batter until it will be filled for 3-4 mm. Cook for 5 minutes each side of it and turn the heat off to cool down the testarolo. Once it will be cooled down let’s cut it into 3 cm squares for each side. Before “boiling” the testaroli let’s make the pesto by putting in a mortar and crushing the basil, pine nuts, kernels and garlic until you will have a mush to which we will add the oil and the cheese, and then salt to taste. Now, for the final cooking of the Testaroli, let’s put them into not salted hot water (it doesn’t have to boil) and let them reconstitute for a few minutes. To complete the dish, let’s drain and serve them with pesto and some Parmesan cheese.
Photo by Il Tirreno