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Caper Pesto (Pesti di Caperi)

December 3, 2010 by Joan Nova in Italian, Marrying Flavors, Pasta | 14 Comments

My friend Liz forwarded me an email she received with a selection of pesto recipes which are attributable to Southern Italy. They included garlic pesto, mint + parsley pesto and this very interesting caper pesto.

I don’t have a photo of the pesto alone as I wasn’t planning to do a post about it but after the pasta was tossed and I took the first bite, I knew I had to share it.

I served it over pasta (of course) with a pan roasted Lane Snapper (local catch) — and because I like a balanced meal, I threw in a handful of grape tomatoes and french cut beans and lots of torn basil.

Source: The Southern Italian Table by Arthur Schwartz

4 ounces (2/3 cup) salted capers, rinsed well
2 anchovy  fillets
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup loosely packed parsley
1 teaspoon  dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 tablespoon white or red  wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Note: It also makes a good base for other dishes. I used a few spoonfuls to start a caponata.

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!


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  1. I’m loving this Joan! These flavors are exactly me…must def try this!

  2. Julia says:

    I love this idea. The pesto is actually very similar to the braising liquid I use for artichokes.

  3. bellini says:

    This is one of those sauces that would be perfect for the winter months when we have capers and parsley but no basil.

  4. sippitysup says:

    Bold and flavorful and full of possibilities. Just like life! GREG

  5. Katie says:

    What a fab idea! I happen to have some capers and anchovies in the fridge that I need to use up… Thanks, Joan!

  6. redkathy says:

    Joan your pasta looks over the top delish. I’m going to try this pesto for Christmas Eve dinner, thanks for posting it!!

  7. Caper pesto! I love it. This would be perfect on fish. So tangy. Great recipe.

  8. Jim says:

    Looks tasty. Seems like the perfect sauce for swordfish or one of chris’s shark fillets.
    Great photo with your new camera, too.

  9. norma says:

    If it has anchovy is perfect for your friend Phil…a must make

  10. This certainly sounds like a very unique and delicious pesto! I’m looking forward to trying it sometimes!

  11. Interesting pesto! I am not sure my kids would go for this much capers, but I am tempted! and what a great idea to use it for a caponata!

  12. What a great idea! Nothing beats capers and anchovies together :) Love it!

    Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Joan Nova, sippitysup. sippitysup said: real flavor happening @FOODalogue! Caper Pesto (Pesti di Caperi) […]

  2. […] and reserved bacon.Yield: 4 servings.You might also enjoy the recipes for these unusual pestos:Caper Pesto – FoodalogueCilantro-Parsley Pesto – Blue KitchenPesto alla Trapanese – Sugar PiesWalnut Pesto – Smitten […]

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