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Pasta with Pesto is a super flavorful dish, that is an excellent way to welcome the spring. Using fresh ingredients makes this pasta shine. The combination of pasta, potatoes, and pesto may seem like it wouldn’t work, but it does, creating a hearty dish pungent with the flavor of basil.
Every now and then I am asked to review a new cookbook or product. I can’t resist saying yes to these requests, it is a great way for me to try out new things and I love sharing them with all my Hungry Wife fans. This pasta dish comes from the cookbook, Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?, by Lisa Caponigri. Its an Italian cookbook, full of traditional dishes. I love the way it is set up. Recipes are divided into 52 different menus, one for every Sunday of the year. Total there are 250 recipes. Each Sunday dinner menu serves 8-10, and consists of an antipasto (usually a crostini to pass a the table), a primo (first course; this is almost always a pasta, but it can also be a risotto, polenta, or a soup), a secondo (call it the main course), served with a single contorno (side dish), and, finally, dessert. Since it is just me, my husband, and my son who doesn’t count as a serving size yet, I’m only making one of these dishes at a time.
Pasta with Pesto (or Pasta Alla Ligure) is a secondo in the cookbook, but for us it made an awesome dinner served with a nice crusty bread.
The idea of a weekly Sunday dinner with the family is great. I think more people need to participate in this ritual. It is an excellent way to keep a close knit family, and share love of each other and food. I wish we lived closer to our families so that we could participate in this tradition, but it truly makes me appreciate the time we get to spend together the few times a year that we gather.
I never used to make my own pesto. I would take the easy way out, and purchase a pre-made pesto thinking it wouldn’t make much of a difference. It’s not bad to do this, but I cannot emphasize enough how delicious a homemade pesto is, and how easy it is to whip up. Take the few minutes it takes, and make your own. You will be amazed.
Summary: Pasta with Pesto is a flavorful pasta, perfect to welcome the spring. A great weeknight meal.
- 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
- ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ cup grated pecorino-romano
- 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
- 1 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 pounds pasta, such as gemelli, farfalle, or fusilli
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- Make the pesto: Put the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and stir in the Pecorino. Check the seasonings to taste.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch until they turn bright green and are tender, approximately 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beans to a colander and run under cold water to keep them from cooking any further. Set aside.
- While the beans are cooking, peel and cube the potatoes. Once you’ve removed the beans from the pot of boiling water, add the potatoes and boil until they are soft and can be broken apart with a wooden spoon, approximately 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to the colander.
- Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, place the potatoes, green beans, and pest in a large bowl. Drain the pasta and add to the bowl. Mix together until combined. The potatoes should be broken up into chunks in a rustic fashion. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more olive oil. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)
Cooking time: 40 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 6
Culinary tradition: Italian