The most elegant pasta dish that Italian cooks have ever invented is astonishingly simple to make, especially when pesto is made with a food processor instead of a mortar and pestle. Here, the magical green sauce is tossed with trenette (or any long pasta you can twirl around a fork), tender slices of potato and barely blanched green beans.
- 2 cups packed tender young basil leaves
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 plump garlic cloves, peeled and crushed with flat blade of a knife
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, or more to taste
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, or more to taste (Leave out for Dairy Free!)
- Salt to taste
- ½ pound small potatoes, peeled and sliced about 1/4-inch thick
- ¼ pound tender young green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
- 1 pound trenette, or other long, thin pasta
- Make pesto: in bowl of food processor, add basil, pine nuts, salt and garlic. Pulse until mixture is coarse and grainy. With motor running, add oil in slow, steady stream. Add cheese; process just enough to mix well. If sauce is too dry, add a little more oil. Taste; add more cheese or salt, if desired.
- Bring 6 quarts water to rolling boil. Add at least 2 tablespoons salt and the potato slices. Cook for about 5 minutes, or until potatoes have started to soften but are not cooked through. Add green beans, and continue boiling another 5 minutes.
- Add pasta, and stir. Start testing pasta at 5 minutes. When it is done, and when potatoes and beans are tender, drain and turn pasta and vegetables immediately into preheated bowl. Add pesto, and mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.