Testaroli With Pesto And Parmesan

Testaroli pasta with basil pesto

Just when we thought we'd eaten every pasta shape on earth, we got 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 tried testoroli (which you will also find called testarolo).

Some call it the oldest kind of pasta, while 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 at least twice our size, so who were we to argue?

What we know for sure is that testaroli originates from the Italian region of Lunigiana, where it is traditionally served as a first course accompanied by basil pesto. The bread/pasta is made from nothing more than wheat flour, water, and salt and is cooked in a huge, flat pan called a testa, which is where it gets its name. When cooked, testaroli resembles a giant caramelised pancake.

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, the recipe for which has been perfected over centuries. Serve with a criminal amount of Parmesan.

Ingredients for two as a starter

to taste

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 a 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.