Author Notes: A traditional Ligurian pesto pasta dish with my adaption of “frenching” the green beans and slicing the boiled potatoes into thin rounds. I prefer this lighter textured version and the pesto coats every bite perfectly! —cucina di mammina
pound trenette or fettuccine pasta (homemade or dry)
1 to 1 1/2
pounds fresh green beans (cleaned, trimmed and french cut)
pounds red or white small creamier potatoes (washed, skin on)
3 to 3 1/2
cups fresh basil leaves (washed & trimmed)
2 to 3
peeled garlic cloves
1/2 to 1/3
cups pine nuts
1/2 to 1/3
cups grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese & pecorino romano cheese (combined)
good quality olive oil
- Bring a large stock pot to filled with water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until fork tender. Remove from the water (reserve the water for continued use) and allow to cool.
- Prepare the green beans by french cutting them which is basically splitting them lengthwise and making sure they are about bite size proportions.
- I prefer this thinner cut to keeping them whole in this recipe so when they are added to the cooked pasta they are easier to eat and are more flavorful per bite.
- Blanch the green beans until tender, remove from the water and set aside to drain (reserving the water for later use.)
- Peel the potatoes and you can slice them into thin rounds or if you prefer, small chunks. I prefer using thinner rounds of potato as the sauce seems to coat them better giving the dish maximum flavor overall.
- Add more water to the stock pot reserved water and bring to a boil. Prepare the pesto by placing the fresh basil leaves, chunks of peeled garlic, grated cheese, pine nuts and sea salt to taste in a food processor or mortar for grinding.
- Bring this mixture to a fine grind; slowly drizzle in olive oil and blend or grind until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Taste for seasoning and adjust by adding salt or more olive oil if needed.
- Set aside. Cook the pasta until “al dente” in the boiling water with sea salt added now. Once cooked to your preference; remove the pasta; reserving the cooking liquid
- Place the cooked pasta, green beans and potatoes in a large deep bowl and add the pesto sauce. Mix well; adding some of the cooking liquid in small amounts to thin out the sauce and allow it to coat all the ingredients well.
- The sauce should look creamy and coat each and every strand of pasta, green bean and potato for best flavor quality. Serve immediately with extra grated cheese for the table, if desired.