We had a pesto pasta dish so good at Upper East Side's Dopo East restaurant that we just had to bug Executive Chef Patrizio d'Andrea for the recipe. Trofie pasta, a short, twisted shape, originates from Genova, the capital of Liguria where you'll find some of the best olive oil in Italy. What else comes from that region? Pesto Genovese, which any native will assure you is the only true basil pesto, and the only one worth eating. Fine by us. Says Chef Patrizio:
"This is one of the most famous Ligurian recipes, traditional trofie pasta with cubed potatoes, steamed green beans and bright earthy pesto in a one-pot dish. High-quality ingredients make this simple dish shine."
- 1 packed cup fresh Genovese basil leaves (use small young leaves for better flavor)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (fine grind)
- 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (imported if possible), freshly grated
- 1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese (imported if possible), freshly grated
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (Italian preferred), toasted
- 1 teaspoon garlic, minced (one large or two small cloves)
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, ideally Ligurian and not too strong in flavor
- 1 cup Idaho potatoes, diced in 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup small string beans (preferably haricot vert), trimmed to 2-inch lengths
- 1 pound dried trofie pasta (or trenette pasta)
- In a food processor, combine the basil, salt and pepper and process for a few seconds until the basil is chopped.
- Add the cheese, pine nuts and garlic.
- While the processor is running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream until a mostly smooth sauce is formed.
- Transfer pesto to a bowl and set aside. (Note: pesto may be made 1 day in advance and kept refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use. If preparing in advance, be sure to cover the top of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent the pesto from darkening.)
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the pasta and cook and until 4 minutes are left (follow package directions for al dente).
- Add the diced potatoes to the water, wait 2 minutes, then add the beans.
- After 2 more minutes drain the pasta and vegetables, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
- Add your pesto to the warm pot and thin it with just a slash of the cooking water. The idea is to heat, not cook.
- Add the cooked pasta and toss, adding more of the reserved cooking water as necessary to attain a creamy consistency.
- Serve immediately.
Find more Italian pesto dishes on Food Republic: