Trenette col Pesto Genovese (Linguine with Pesto)
Trenette, so-called because they’re thought to resemble train tracks, are a Ligurian version of linguine. (NOTE: Don’t substitute pecorino romano for pecorino sardo.)
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 tbsp. pine nuts
- 2 cups small basil leaves (tightly packed), washed and dried
- Coarse salt
- 1⁄2 cup grated pecorino sardo or parmigiano-reggiano, or ¼ cup of each
- 1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian (or another mild and fruity oil)
- 1⁄2 lb. green beans, trimmed
- 1⁄2 lb. new potatoes, scrubbed and peeled
- 1 lb. trenette, tagliatelle, or linguine
- Crush garlic and pine nuts in a large mortar to make a smooth paste.
- Add basil to mortar a little at a time. Crush to a coarse paste, grinding leaves against side of mortar with pestle. Add a pinch of salt and continue crushing, then gradually stir in cheese.
- Drizzle in olive oil and continue working until pesto is very smooth and no large pieces of basil are visible. Set aside.
- Cook green beans for about 3 minutes in boiling water. Remove with a slotted spoon. In the same water, boil potatoes until tender, about 5–7 minutes. Drain, cool, and slice.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat and cook pasta until tender, about 8–10 minutes. Drain, but reserve 2 tbsp. pasta water and add it to pesto.
- In a large serving bowl, toss pasta, green beans, potatoes, and pesto. Season to taste with salt and serve immediately.
VARIATION: To use a food processor, place pine nuts, garlic, and salt in the processor bowl and blend to a paste. Add basil, drizzle in oil, and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in grated cheese by hand.