Testaroli Pasta With Pesto And Parmesan

Testaroli pasta with basil pesto

Introduction
Just when we thought we'd eaten every pasta shape on earth, we get thrown a curveball.

We never thought we’d have to question whether what we were eating was pasta or bread, but that’s because we’d never been to Tuscany before and hadn't yet been introduced to testoroli (which you will also find called testarolo).

Some call it the oldest form of pasta. Some call it bread. Even Wikipedia, the font of 80% accurate knowledge, is on the fence and declares it to be “bread or pasta”. Anyway, the waiter at the unassuming Florentine trattoria where we first tried it was adamant it was pasta - and he was least twice our size, so who were we to argue?

What we know for sure is that it originates from the Italian region of Lunigiana where it is traditionally served with basil pesto as a first course. The bread, dammit, pasta, is cooked in a huge, flat pan called a testa which is unsurprisingly where testaroli gets its name. The thing is made from nothing more than wheat flour, water and salt - and resembles a giant pancake when the baker/sfoglina considers it done and removes it from the pan to cool.

Testarolo disc before being cut into diamond shapes

The disc must then be sliced in a particular way and cooked for just a brief moment before being tossed in an obscene amount of basil pesto and served with Parmesan.

Ingredients for two as a starter

Testaroli 75g
Pesto 40g
Parmesan to taste

Method
Get a large, sharp knife and chop your huge disc of testaroli into as evenly-sized diamond shapes as you can muster. 

Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook for no more than two minutes before tossing with a generous amount of pesto.

Dish up and serve with the finest Parmesan you can afford.

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