Sunday, June 7, 2009

Trofie alla genovese

Trofie are a type of pasta typical to the Liguria region of Italy, and in this dish, which you can find throughout the region, they are served with pesto, potato, and green beans.

Lately, basil has been all over the marketplace and I simply cannot resist a fresh bunch of basil. Unfortunately, you generally can't buy it in very small bunches, and even though I'll eat some pretty much every day, I inevitably end up with extra. So of course, the solution is to make some pesto!

I made a bunch of pesto last week to go with some potato gnocchi, and I still had a bit left over. I was planning to just put it on spaghetti or something, but then at the market today I saw a lovely bunch of green beans and was reminded of the genovese style of serving pasta with pesto. Though I had never made the dish myself before, the preparation turned out to be quite simple, and the end result was very rewarding! The only difficult part was actually finding trofie, which are not very common here in the U.S. I suppose I could have used some other type of pasta, but I wanted to be really authentic and so ended up shelling out $8 for the bag at my local Italian foods store. Ridiculous, I know, but it was just this once, and the trofie actually are really good - dense but small, so the balance of pastaness ends up being just right.

Ingredients (given per person):
75 g. trofie
1 small potato or 1/2 a medium potato per person
75 g. green beans per person
Pesto - you can get it from stores, but it's usually much better if you make your own, as described here

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Peel the potato and chop it into smallish cubes. When the water is boiling, add salt and then the potato. Let the potato cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the potato is cooking, wash the green beans and chop off the very ends. Chop them in half. After the potato has cooked 10 minutes, add the green beans and the trofie. Let cook another 15 minutes or so, stirring from time to time and testing to make sure not to overcook anything. When done, the trofie and green beans should be tender but still have some bite to them.

Drain the pasta, potatoes, and green beans, reserving a couple spoonfuls of the pasta water. Dilute the pesto with the pasta water to make it easier to spread over the pasta, and then mix everything together. Serve immediately.

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