August 12, 2020

Etruscan Pesto with Olea Prilis

Pesto etrusco olea prilis

A little history

Olea Prilis is located in the village of Casotto dei Pescatori, between Roselle and Vetulonia. Through these two strongholds, from 600 B.C., the Etruscan people garrisoned and dominated the entire vast area, spreading with various offshoots throughout the territory of central Italy from the largely marshy plain of Grosseto. Evolved and enigmatic at the same time their civilization knew how to cultivate olives and extract the oil. It was a very eclectic conception that has deeply influenced even very different areas of human activity, in an anthropological-religious syncretism capable of binding the sacred and mixing with functions and knowledge in the agricultural field, in cooking, in herbal medicine, in the rich classification and case study of medicines and caring for one’s body.
With this rich heritage in mind, Olea Prilis decided to make oil the focal point of its business. In order to talk about the characteristics of Olea Prilis extra virgin olive oil and reconstruct its link with the ancient Etruscan culture, we want to explore some food and cosmetic recipes, prepared with the ingredients the Etruscans used as expert connoisseurs. In addition to oil and grapevines, wheat, spelt, barley, broad beans, peas, vetch, rye, fig, wild fruits and, as a consequence of raising cattle, sheep and goat, milk and its by-product were well-known. Particular attention was paid to the therapeutic and beneficial properties of aromatic plants and many wild herbs, as well as flowers, shrubs, roots, always using olive oil as a base for obtaining perfumes, creams and ointments.

Serves 4:

  • Pine nuts: 1 handful
  • Garlic: 1 clove
  • 1 bunch of each: basil, fresh oregano, lemon balm, fresh thyme
  • 2 dried helichrysum flowers
  • Olea Prilis Oil: half glass
  • Pasta: choice between fettuccine, tagliatelle, linguine or spaghetti
  • Goat’s cheese: from raw milk and semi-hard paste
  • Salt: to taste

Etruscan ingredients in the recipe:

Pine nuts: all oval-shaped fruits were considered auspicious by the Etruscans, because their shape was similar to the egg, considered sacred and used as an amulet in the esoteric symbolism of the Rasenna.

pinoli pesto olea prilis
aglio olea prilis

Garlic: certainly a frequent ingredient of the cuisine of the lucumonies of Etruria, because it grew spontaneously and was one of their healing, aphrodisiac and stimulating foods.

Aromatic herbs: among the residues most often found by researchers in Etruscan utensils are pine resin, rosemary, basil, helichrysum and thyme. These essences were widely used by the Etruscans who used them in cooking and cosmetics because of their beneficial properties. Helichrysum or flower “of the sun”, is the reason why this recipe is so good.

erbe aromatiche pesto olea prilis

L’elicriso o fiore “del sole”, è il segreto di questa ricetta.

erbe aromatiche pesto olea prilis
pasta pesto olea prilis

Pasta: it was already widely known by the Etruscans as makària or “blissful food”, because it was served at propitiatory and funeral ceremonies.

One testimony comes from the Etruscan tomb of the Grotta Bella, in Cerveteri where there are some reliefs depicting tools for making fresh pasta, such as a pastry board, rolling pin and cutting wheel.

Goat’s cheese: preparation of cheese with the use of vegetable rennet, such as twigs, fig milk, artichokes and vinegar, was developed by the Etruscans, who preferred goat’s milk to cow’s milk which they considered harmful. Cattle breeding was mainly aimed at using them for ploughing and in various agricultural processes.

formaggio capra pesto olea prilis


First of all, ground one clove of garlic in a pestle, and wash, dry and add basil, thyme and oregano leaves as well as some lemon balm. All these herbs should be picked fresh, with the exception of the helichrysum, which together with the others will give a characteristicflavour to the dish. Then add the pine nuts and oil, a little at a time, until you get a rather fluid sauce. Then add the pine nuts and oil, a little at a time, until you get a rather fluid sauce. dd salt to taste and let rest while the pasta is being cooked in plenty of salted water. Drain the pasta, season it with the Etruscan pesto, prinkle with goat’s cheese and some toasted pine nuts to garnis

Preparazione mortaio pesto olea prilis
formaggio capra pesto olea prilis
ricetta pesto olea prilis
Foto e testi a cura di Caterina Mazzocolin

All recipes with our oil.




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