This is a typical recipe from Genoa and is usually eaten with linguine or trofie pasta and would require potatoes and green beans. It is a very common dish in Italy and you can find “ready made” versions of pesto almost anywhere… The home made one though tastes much better and it is very easy and fast to make… if you use an electric mixer you can make it in less than 10 minutes! Almost every household has its own pesto recipe… and this is mine.
Ingredients for 4 people:
1 medium clove of garlic
1 tbsp of pine nuts
1 bunch of basil
1 handful of continental parsley leaves
1 pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp of Parmigiano Reggiano very finely grated
2 tbsp of Italian Pecorino Romano very finely grated
4 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
1 big potato peeled and cubed (optional)
1 handful of green beans cut into 2.5 cm / 1 inch pieces (optional)
400 gms of linguine (also called bavette)
Extra Italian Parmigiano and Pecorino Romano very finely grated to serve
Put the garlic, the pine nuts and salt in the mortar pestle and crush them into a fine paste. Then add the basil and parsley leaves few at a time and keep crushing the paste until it is finely ground. Then add 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and the 2 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano and Pecorino and mix well.
Put the garlic, the pine nuts, salt and 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil in the mixer and blend into a fine paste. Then add the basil and parsley leaves and blend till the paste is finely ground adding 1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Then put it in a bowl and add the other 2 tbsp of olive oil and the 2 tbsp of grated Parmigiano and Pecorino and mix well.
Cover the pesto sauce with extra virgin olive oil to prevent it from oxidising.
Cook pasta following the steps on How to cook your pasta “al dente” in the Techniques page of this site. If you are using the potato and green beans, you need to add them to the water as soon as it boils before adding the pasta and then proceed with cooking the pasta as above.
Serve with the pesto sauce and some grated cheeses on top. Add a little extra virgin olive oil (1 tablespoon per plate) if the sauce is a little too dense.