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FRESH SUMMER PESTO - THREE WAYS

THE BRIGHTNESS OF SUMMER

IF YOU HAVE A STONE MORTAR AND PESTLE, USE IT!

Impress your family & friends with your knowledge of western Italy: Liguria.  It's in this coastal "riviera" region that you'll find this wonderful combination of classic pesto with lots of basil, green beans, potatoes, trofie pasta, and lots of fresh olive oil.  This is the one time you need to make pesto yourself. It's nothing like store bought. And can't be replicated by anyone but you! And if by chance you have a stone mortar and pestle, take it out of your cupboard and make pesto the way chefs (and Ligurians) do.


We've added two other fabulous recipes that combine the amazing tastes of summer. Two things all our recipes share are the freshness of homemade pesto and of course, the freshest extra virgin olive oil.

CLASSIC TROFIE AL PESTO

The northwestern coastal region Liguria is especially celebrated for its light, herb-heavy dishes. One of our favorite regional dishes is the famed trofie al pesto: "Pesto Pasta".

Trofie is a gently twisted narrow pasta. Why is that important? Shape, size, and texture combine differently with each type of sauce.  The ridges of the trofie shape are perfect for holding pesto. If you can't find trofie, fusilli is a terrific substitute.  Try and find the narrower type.

CLASSIC PESTO (MAKES TWO CUPS)

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups fresh basil, leaves only
2 tablespoons pine nuts
2-3 large cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup grated fresh Pecorino Romano (or Parmesan) cheese
 

PREPARATION:

Place basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic in your food processor. Process until grainy. Slowly pour in olive oil while continuing to process. When the mixture is almost smooth add cheese then pulse just enough to mix. Useful insight: Pecorino is made from sheep's milk while Parmesan is made from cow's. The former is a Ligurian classic. For the most original, flavourful and textured pesto get out your stone mortar and pestle. Add garlic to the bowl and use the pestle to mince, then add basil leaves and press to a fine consistency, then pine nuts, then olive oil and finally grated Pecorino or Parmesan. A major YUM!

TROFIE PESTO PASTA

SERVES: 4

INGREDIENTS:
450g (1lb) package trofie pasta (or other twisted pasted like fusilli)
4-5 small yellow flesh potatoes, boiled and quartered
1 cup fresh picked green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half
2 tbsp salt 
Extra virgin olive oil, to taste

Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil adding two tablespoons of salt. Place pasta in boiling water until it is al dente, around 8-9 minutes, then drain saving at least 1 cup of cooking water. Put aside. Bring a second large pot of water to a rolling boil seasoned with at least 1 tbsp salt. Set up a large bowl filled with ice water nearby. Place green beans into boiling water until they turn bright green, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove them with slotted spoon and place in ice water. Take boiled and quartered potatoes, 1/2 cup pesto and beans and place in a large saute/frying pan. Add the drained pasta to the pesto, bean and potato mixture and increase heat to medium. Add 1/4 cup pasta cooking water. Stir gently to combine. Add additional pesto to taste as well as a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. For creaminess, add more pasta cooking water to thin out as needed. When thoroughly mixed, place on a large serving dish.


FRESH GREEN BEAN TOMATO SALAD WITH PESTO

Here's the same trofie Pesto-Pasta flavour with low carbs!  Simply toss prepared green beans (see recipe for trofie pasta), add farm fresh tomatoes cut in quarters, and toss with classic pesto to taste. And of course, drizzle generously with fresh extra virgin olive oil. 
 
SIMPLY FRESH SPAGHETTI, PESTO & TOMATO

And then there's the old stand-by: spaghetti.  Prepare to package directions, drain then cool. Place in large bowl then add fresh red and yellow tomatoes, classic pesto and for this one, you can skip green beans if you're more of a tomato lover. Then generously drizzle your favourite extra virgin olive oil. 
 


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