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Creamy Agliata Verde

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This traditional recipe from the confines of Italy and Switzerland brings together the delicious full fat creamy tomme with a unique Alpine herbal pesto.

This traditional Italian recipe from the French-speaking part of the Italian Alps, around Aosta, is as simple as it is intriguing. And with such stunning colors your guests are bound to remember it!

Tomme Agliata
200gr creamy cow milk cheese
1-2 garlic cloves
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
10 fresh leaves basil
5 fresh celery leaves
30 gr fresh parsley
a drop of olive oil
salt and pepper
bread

Here I used two of our glorious Swiss tommes, but you can use any similar cheese. You want something so creamy that a river of cheese will flow as soon as you cut the crust. Although you could do it with Camembert or Vacherin Mont d'Or these would have too strong a taste by the time they are runny enough. The Italian recipe calls for robioletta or toma delle Langhe.

In a mortar pound the herbs and garlic to a paste. I recommend you add the garlic gradually as it can overpower the delicate taste of the herbs rather quickly. You can always add more later.

Add the lemon and oil and mix well. You need to a balance between the ingredients so do this gradually and taste each time until you are pleased with the result.

Add the cheese with the crust on if really soft.

Pound and enjoy the beautiful color.

Taste once again and correct the balance by adding more salt, pepper, lemon, garlic or oil.

Leave in the fridge until one hour before serving. You can serve it in the mortar and let guests dip in with a common spoon and spread it over grilled bread, or prepare little toast with the magical green mixture on top.

This is a very creamy, unusual spread with one of the most beautiful green color I've ever seen in my kitchen. Don't serve more than 50gr per person as the cheese contains quite some milk fat. There is great potential in this recipe to play with the herbs. I would love to incorporate wild celery leaves and some other Alpine herbs.

This very original and yet traditional Alpine pesto comes from a respected Italian cookbook, Le ricette regionali italiane by Anna Gosetti della Salda. In the book the recipe is called Agliata Verde Monferrina. I discovered this rather famous treatise in a book about French politicians' food habits, but Qu'importe la bouteille, pourvu qu'on ait l'ivresse? Who cares about the bottle provided we get high?

Published 12/03/2007
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7 Comments

  • #1
  • Comment by bmm
  • on: 03/09/2007
Je vais essayer...
  • #2
  • Comment by Jess
  • on: 25/05/2008
You just gave me another way to enjoy cheese.
Another great article, I especially like photographs of the cheese as it gets mixed in.

  • #4
  • Comment by Shannon
  • on: 27/11/2008
This looks amazing and if I can find a proper cheese I'll make it straight away.  I wonder if lovage would be a nice substitute for the celery leaves.  It has become very popular and somewhat common here in English farm shops, so I shall try it if I ever come across a Tomme.
  • FX's answer→ Shannon, how nice of you to mention lovage, this must be my favorite herb! You absolutely can use it for the agliata, in fact I had used celery leaves out of lack of lovage - I mean, where is the lovage?

  • #6
  • Comment by Joanna
  • on: 01/01/2010
FX I do love your videos and have missed you recently but this recipe draws my eye again and again. In the depths of winter this is the food i miss most with the bright colours and flavours! I have a quick question, the Tomme you use what kind is it? I have been to Switzerland and all the Tommes I found were quite dry and have a thicker rind. I have some very good old Brie but I worry that its aged flavour would overpower the herbs. I hope yo are not too busy to send a reply but if not don't worry! Keep on cooking!
  • FX's answer→ Joanna, a fair question as today my father brought me one of the beautiful tommes you describe - semi-hard cow milk, rennet-coagulated cheeses with a washed rind. These are made in the Valaisian mountains. The one you want is often called a "Tomme vaudoise" and and they are mold-ripened like a Brie or Camembert. These cheeses are eaten only a few weeks after they are made and the crumb is soft and oozes out, again, much like a well-done Camembert. You could in fact substitute with this if you can't locate a proper Swiss tomme. It is a lovely recipe and very, very healthy!


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