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Pesto with Trofiette

A Ligurian specialty, pesto is traditionally made using a mortar and pestle for maximum flavor and ideal texture. Here, the pesto is tossed with pasta, sliced potatoes and green beans in a classic Ligurian preparation.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch
      rounds
  • Coarse salt, to taste, plus 1/2 tsp.
  • Leaves from 2 bunches fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted, plus crushed pine
      nuts for garnish
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese,
      plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 1 lb. trofiette pasta
  • 1/2 lb. haricots verts, trimmed

Directions:

Put the potatoes in a pot and add cold water to cover by 2 inches; salt generously. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Put the basil, the 1/4 cup pine nuts, garlic and the 1/2 tsp. salt in a mortar. Using a pestle, grind with a rotating motion until a paste forms, about 5 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup cheese and continue grinding until well combined. Remove the pestle. Using a wooden spoon, briskly stir the pesto while drizzling in the 1/2 cup olive oil. Adjust the seasonings with salt. Pour a small amount of olive oil on top of the pesto. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the haricots verts to the boiling pasta. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water.

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, haricots verts, potatoes, pesto and the reserved cooking water and toss gently to combine. Garnish with cheese and crushed pine nuts. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen.