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Veg Talk
Programme details
08 July 2005
Valentian Harris, Charlie Hicks and Gregg Wallace
Charlie and Gregg are joined by Valentina Harris.
Valentina Harris, food writer and broadcaster, is an authority on traditional Italian cooking. 

Ligurian Pesto/Pesto Ligure

Makes enough to dress 500g pasta
2 or 3 large handfuls leaves fresh basil, washed but not bruised, dried carefully
large pinch rock salt
2 or 3 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1 handful pine kernels
2 to 6 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (to taste)
about 1/2 wine glass best quality olive oil
salt and pepper

If you use a pestle and mortar, remember to press the basil leaves against the sides: do not bang downwards as is usual when using this utensil. Put the basil, salt and garlic into the mortar or food processor and reduce to a smooth green puree. Add the pine kernels and cheese and blend these in also, then begin to add the oil a little at a time, until you have reached a smooth, creamy texture. Season with salt and pepper and use as required.

Pasta with yellow pepper pesto/Pasta al pesto di peperone giallo

A lovely sauce, made in the food processor and then tipped over piping hot pasta.

Serves 6

2 large juicy yellow peppers, washed and dried
1 egg
1 clove garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper
500 g/l lb pasta shape of your choice
To serve : freshly grated parmesan cheese
©Valentina Harris

Roast the peppers either under the grill, in the oven or with a blow torch or lit gas ring until the exterior is blackened. Wrap them tightly in cling film and leave them to cool. Meanwhile, bring a large saucepan of salted water to a rolling boil. When the peppers are cool rub off their exterior skin with a clean scouring pad, holding the peppers under a cold running tap. If you do this carefully and you have blackened the peppers efficiently, all the skin should rub off with no difficulty. Any remaining bits of skin can be easily removed with a sharp knife. Cut the peppers in half and remove the seeds and membrane. Place the peppers in the food processor or liquidiser, add the egg, the garlic, the parsley and the olive oil. Whizz it all together very thoroughly to make a smooth yellow, green flecked sauce. Tip the pasta into the boiling water, stir and return to the boil. Cook until tender. Drain and return to the hot saucepan. Add the sauce and toss everything together thoroughly. Transfer to a platter and serve, with freshly grated parmesan cheese offered separately.
©Valentina Harris

Villa Valentina cookery school

Classic Italian Cooking  published by MQ Publications, ISBN: 184072725X
Recipes from an Italian Terrace  published by Cassell Illustrated, ISBN: 1844030563
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Gregg Wallace
Gregg WallaceGregg is an award-winning food broadcaster who coaches U-12 rugby in his spare time.
Charlie Hicks
Charlie HicksCharlie is a greengrocer extraordinaire bringing fruit and veg expertise to the masses.

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