Pasta al Pesto con Patate e Fagiolini – a little background and a recipe
I reflect with nostalgia on this recipe, which was first introduced to me by friends in Italia while we were sailing in the Mar Tirreno (Tyrrhennian Sea) off the coast of Tuscany and enjoying lunch aboard their boat, Elixir. We literally dove into the bowl of pasta with delight as the sun reflected off the turquoise water, and then we relaxed ecstatically while gentle summer waves lulled us into a post-pasta trance. It was the discovery of a traditional Ligurian dish that has since become a fundamental part of my quick-but-healthy-meals arsenal.
Now, back in the Pacific Northwest, I continue to be pleasantly surprised by the fresh combination of flavors every time I make this piatto tipico (typical dish). My Genovese amico pastaio at Via Rosa 11, here on Bainbridge Island, sells his fresh pasta and sauces at the local Farmers’ Markets and I can attest to the fantastic quality of the ravioli, pastas of all shapes and sizes and jars of flavorful condiments. Their Pesto Genovese would be perfect for this recipe, unless you’re planning to make your own…but, for me, that will be material for a future post–probably this summer, when I’ve got more access to fresh basil.
6-8 Porzioni (Serves 6 to 8)
500 gr. Pasta (Trofie fresche, Casarecce, etc.)
8 oz. Pesto Genovese, in a large bowl for mixing and serving
2 Yukon Gold Potatoes, medium diced
1 lb. Fagiolini (fine Green Beans or haricots verts), washed, stemmed and cut into 3rds
Olio Extra Vergine and Parmigiano Reggiano (parmesean cheese) for garnish
Istruzioni (Directions) **
** The most important things to keep track of are the cook time of the pasta you’re using and then the potatoes (12 min.) and the green beans (7 min.). You will use one pot for all the goodies and just a bit of quick math (even I can do this one, though I am infamous for my lack of skill with numbers!) will help you get it perfect every time. Some of the smaller potato bits will inevitably overcook, but this is good because they will melt into the pesto for an even creamier texture and more delicious flavor than you’ve ever before experienced with pesto.
1. Bring salted cooking water to a boil in a large pot
2. Add longest cooking ingredient (pasta or potatoes) first. For the photo shoot/tasting, I’ve used Garofalo brand casarecce that cook in 11 min., so I put the potatoes in at 4:00pm.
3. Add next ingredient (pasta or potatoes) second. I added the casarecce at 4:01pm.
4. At EndTime minus 7 minutes, add the green beans. For me, this was at 4:05.
5. Strain everything, but SAVE some of the starchy cooking water and add 2 TBSP to the pesto in the bowl. Add all goodies to the bowl, toss well and serve hot, room temp. or cold, as desired. Dress up for service with olive oil and parm and ENJOY!!!