Ligurian Pasta with Pesto and Green Beans

By Valentina Solfrini
September 22, 2013
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Author Notes: A recipe to welcome all the last green beans that are growing in my garden. The original Ligurian recipe calls for potatoes as well, so feel free to add them if you like.

I am using linguine here. The original recipe calls for Trenette, or - even better, trofie, but good substitutions would be tagliolini, tagliatelle... I also like it with any egg-based long or short pasta.

Oh, and...don't be afraid to USE THAT OIL! I can't stress enough how the quality of the olive oil is paramount for great results in this recipe. Use an EVOO oil you really, really like.
Valentina Solfrini

Serves: 3-4

For the Pesto:

  • 1 ounce (25-30 grams) Basil leaves (a good bunch)
  • 1/4 cup Fruity, flavorful extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Grated Parmesan (Parmigiano Reggiano)
  • 1 tablespoon Grated Pecorino (or use more Parmesan)
  • 1 handful Lightly toasted walnuts or pine nuts
  • 1 small garlic clove (or half a big one)
  • A pinches of salt

For the Pasta:

  • 8.5 ounces (240g) Long shaped pasta (like Linguine or Tagliolini)
  • 1 handful Coarse salt, for the pasta water
  • 2 tablespoons Reserved starchy pasta water
  • 6 ounces (170g) Green beans, trimmed
  • (Extra) one medium potato, peeled and diced
  • (Extra) More Parmesan, for serving
  1. For the pesto in a blender: Just add everything to a blender except the oil. Blitz to a coarse paste, and start adding the oil a bit at a time, until desired consistency. You might need more oil. Check for salt.
  2. For the pesto in a mortar and pestle: Pound the garlic and the salr first, then add the basil. ‘Tear’ it rather than pounding it, with a light, circular motion. Once a brilliant liquid exudes from the basil, it is time to add the nuts. Once pounded, add the cheese. Lastly, add the oil, a little at a time, to thin everything out. You might need more oil to cover the pesto and store it in the fridge. Again, check for salt.
  3. Take care of the vegetables: Steam (or lightly boil) the green beans until desired consistency, but they should be quite soft. Check after 8 minutes or so. If you are using the potatoes, boil them as well.
  4. Prepare the pasta: Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and add salt to it. Cook the pasta according to package directions, and drain, reserving some of the starchy water. If you boiled the green beans, you can boil the pasta in the same pot.
  5. For the assembly: Thin out the pesto with a couple tablespoons of the pasta cooking water. Add the beans to the pasta and dress everything, using a bit extra oil if needed. Serve with extra Parmigiano on the side.

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