Ligurian dish - pasta with beans and pesto
Cooking pasta with green beans is traditional in Liguria, either to make the pasta go further or simply to balance the pungency of pesto.
200g thin green beans, trimmed
225g small, waxy potatoes, peeled and cut into slices about 1cm thick
450g trenette (Genovese version of linguine), linguine or tagliatelle
1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
Pine nuts (few ozs - the mixture will tell you when you've added 'enough')
Large handful basil, leaves only
100g grated Parmesan
Extra virgin olive oil
Put the garlic, pine nuts and a pinch of salt in a large mortar, and crush with a pestle, using smooth, regular motions, to make a smooth paste. Add the basil to the mortar a little at a time and crush to a coarse paste, Add a pinch more salt and continue crushing, then gradually stir in the Parmesan. Drizzle in the olive oil and continue working until the pesto is very smooth and no large pieces of basil are visible.
Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to a boil, then plunge in the green beans. Boil for about 3 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, drain, and set aside. Add the potatoes to the same boiling water and cook for about 3 minutes. Add more salt to the boiling water if needed, and add the pasta and cook until just done. Just before the pasta is done, remove 2 tablespoons of the cooking water and stir into the pesto. Drain the pasta and potatoes and toss in a large bowl with the pesto and green beans.