Pesto Modenese is an uncooked, thick, creamy white spread.
It is made from lard, garlic, and rosemary.
Unlike the green pesto made from basil that is served with pasta, Pesto Modenese is served with warm bread. It is used as a filling for crescentine rolls tigelle, and borlenghi, and can also be used as a topping for the flat bread called a “piadina.”
The warm bread melts the lard in the mixture, releasing the flavours of the herb and the garlic.
The lard used is the type called “lardo”, which is the pure fat from the pork belly; not the type of melted, processed lard, which Italians refer to as “strutto.”
Per 250g of lard, use 2 cloves of garlic and 2 twigs of rosemary.
Mince the garlic and rosemary, then mix into the lard.
The rosemary and garlic are best finely minced by hand. You can try a food processor, but remember the consistency should be somewhat coarse, not a purée.
When prepared as “cunza” for borlenghi, the garlic would be increased in the sample recipe above to 4 cloves, then 250 grams of minced bacon, and possibly a bit of sausage might be added as well.
Sage or oregano might be used in place of rosemary in some variations.
In the Emilian Apennines, Pesto Modenese is also called “cunza.”