With this recipe we are travelling in the kitchen to Liguria, in northwestern Italy, where it's Mediterranean coastline is known as the Italian Riviera. Liguria's most famous specialities are pesto and focaccia, which can be served plain, or with tasty variations like onion, olives, sage, cheese etc. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame in his veg everyday cookbook, says that this is a traditional pasta dish from Liguria using a delicious homemade pesto. Making your own pesto takes this dish to a whole new level. I am still to find a bought one that I like, but they must be available somewhere I suppose.
It also makes a delicious meat free Monday dish that the whole family will love.
Lets cook some Pasta.
Serves 4 generously
Pasta with Pesto, New Potatoes and Green beans Ingredients:
300g new potatoes, I used "baby spud lite" potatoes from Woolworths (no promo intended)
300g pasta, such as farfalle (bowtie shape) or any pasta shape, or penne, trofie, orecchiette
200g green or French beans
50g stoned green olives, roughly sliced or chopped
Put a very large pan of well salted water onto the boil. Salting the water heavily (2 tablespoons), is believed to help maintain the bright colour of the beans, and keep the potatoes firm. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into thick matchsticks (like thin chips).
Add the potatoes and pasta to the pan and cook until the pasta is al dente - Probably 10-12 minutes. This should be the right amount of time for the potatoes as well, however I wasn't quite sure and so I added the pasta, cooked it for 2 minutes, then added the potatoes, cooked it all for 5 minutes and then added the green beans for 4 minutes. Perfect timing! The most important thing here is to keep the integrity of the potatoes so that they don't cook too long and break up. If the pasta is the type that cooks very quickly, put the potatoes in a few minutes before you add the pasta.
Carefully drain off the pasta and vegetables, and let them steam off for a minute or two, then add the pesto and mix thoroughly but gently. Check to see if more salt or pepper is needed, I added a good grinding of pepper.
(If you are worried about the timing though, cook each element separately in the same pot of boiling water. First the potatoes, when almost done take them out, then the green beans, take them out when almost done, keep the water going and add the pasta until done. Then gently mix everything together.)
Divide between 4 serving bowls, and scatter over the green olives. Grate some parmesan cheese over each bowl and add an extra trickle of olive oil if you like. Serve with an extra bowl of grated cheese on the table. Mr. HRK and I are having leftovers for lunch today. Yum, can't wait.
I really hope you try this recipe as it is absolutely delicious and so simple to make.
As always your comments will make my day, so please let me know what you think in the comments box.