CLASSIC PESTO (MAKES TWO CUPS)
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
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
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.