Ah, golden Tuscany! One autumn my husband and I stayed in an inn in Figline Valdarno near Florence where we fell in love with the wide variety of gorgonzola cheese which is made in provinces further north in Italy. Some were salty and crumbly, others “dolce” and of a buttery consistency. Our innkeeper even treated us to gorgonzola with fresh pears and nuts and a glass of red wine. It was as heavenly as the Tuscan sunshine. We took a cooking class at the inn where I learned to use it in creamy sauces for penne pasta, as a secret embellishment for polenta and as a pizza topping.

Back to reality in Brooklyn, I recreated our Tuscan table memories with “Fabulous Fig & Gorgonzola Pesto.” The richness and complexity of Italy in a single spoonful of pesto—hearty, pungent, a hint of savory, tart/sweet!

Spread this creamy pesto in a panini with arugula and caramelized onions. Dab a teaspoonful atop crisp arugula sprinkled with lemon and olive oil. Or, brush some across fresh pizza dough; add extra crumbled gorgonzola and fresh pancetta. Baked in mere minutes, this gourmet pizza always impresses. Served with a full-bodied red wine, you’ll be transported to Florence!