Friday, June 22, 2012

Tour of Italy ~ Day 22... Lovely Liguria

Forming a crescent that runs along the Ligurian Sea and wraps its self around the capital city of Genoa. This region has become known as the Italian Riviera. It is known for its wide variety of vegetables, NOT FISH, and pastas with pestos, because as the stories go. This region is still know for the sailors of trade not fishing and when they would return home from their long voyages, they would be sick of eating dried and preserved foods and often their wives would find them physically sick and in need of fresh fruits and nutritious vitamin filled veggies. Their legacies are filled with stuffed vegetables dishes like fritters, frittatas, pesto sauces. And since it is Friday, we wanted to make a dish that we could take and enjoy at the beach, today we are enjoying a terra firma classic...

Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes, and Green Beans

Ingredients (for the pesto):

6 1/2 ounces  fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, peeled
1/4 cup good-quality olive oil
2 tablespoons pine nuts
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Ingredients (for the pasta):

1 lb whole wheat pasta
4 or 5 medium-small boiling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into one-inch lengths
1 Tablespoon butter
1 pesto recipe, above


To make the pesto: Combine basil, nuts, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper in a food processor. finely grind.  With the machine running, drizzle in olive oil and let it process until the mixture is relatively smooth.  Add grated cheese and process once more to incorporate.  Adjust taste with salt.  Before adding to the pasta, stir in the cream or milk to loosen it a bit.
To make the pasta: Place the potatoes in a large pot (you'll be using it for the pasta, too) and fill with as much water as you'd use to make pasta.  The potatoes should be covered with a few inches of water.  Generously salt the water, and then bring to a boil.  When the potatoes are close to being tender (usually takes around 8-10 minutes), add the green beans and allow them to cook.  When the green beans and potatoes are tender, remove them with a slotted spoon and transfer to a separate bowl.  Cover with foil to keep warm.  Put the pasta in the boiling water and cook until al dente.
Place the pasta, potatoes, and green beans in a large bowl.  Mix in the pesto to coat everything.  Serve with more parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to taste.

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