Monday, August 24, 2009

Linguine with Pesto, Green Beans, and Potatoes

Pasta. It's my ultimate comfort food.

After focusing all of our attention on Diver this past week, and caring for him during his recovery from that nasty spider bite, I was finally able to relax in the kitchen on Saturday afternoon and find some of my own solace.

I recently came across my Il Fornaio Pasta Book, by Maurizio Mazzon, and was instantly drawn to the beautiful photos of simple, rustic, soothing bowls of pasta. I marked at least 10 recipes to try. The first, Linguine with Pesto, Green Beans, and Potatoes, features homemade pesto.

I love the little basil plants available in the markets these days. The plant sits in a copper pot on our kitchen counter until we pinch off and use all the leaves. The remaining ingredients for this dish include Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, French green beans, Yukon gold potatoes, toasted pine nuts, and dried linguine

It's so effortless to make your own pesto. Just whirl together fresh basil, garlic, cheese and pine nuts

Slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Add salt and pepper, and sour cream, and you're done in a matter of minutes.

Linguine with Pesto, Green Beans, and Potatoes
Slightly adapted from Il Fornaio Pasta Book, by Maurizio Mazzon

50 fresh medium basil leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
4 garlic cloves
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1/3 cups freshly grated Pecorino Romano
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon creme fraiche, or sour cream
1/2 lb. Yukon gold potatoes, peeled, quartered, and cut into 1/2 inch thick slices
1/4 lb. green beans, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 pound dry linguine

Place the basil in the bowl of a food processor and chop fine. Add the garlic and continue chopping. Add the Parmigiano, Pecorino, and pine nuts and process until the nuts are chopped fine. Gradually add the olive oil while the motor is running. Add 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper and pulse to combine. Add the creme fraiche and pulse to combine.

Bring a large pot of water, and about 5 teaspoons of salt to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Using slotted spoon or small stainer, transfer beans to large bowl. Return cooking water to boil. Add Yukon gold potatoes and boil until tender, about 7 minutes. Remove potatoes and transfer to bowl with beans. Return cooking water to boil. Add pasta to same pot. Boil until pasta is just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking water. Return green beans, potatoes and cooked pasta to pot. Add pesto and toss to coat. Gradually add enough reserved cooking water to coat pasta with moist sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

This pasta was very flavorful and satisfying. I think roasting the potatoes, rather than boiling them in the pasta water, would be a nice variation. Also, next time, I will sprinkle a few toasted pine nuts and a little more grated cheese over the top.

With the hint of autumn in the air, and the arrival of our gorgeous, farmhouse-style dining room table, I envision sharing many more bowls of pasta with friends and family in the coming months.


ChocochipCheesecake said...

Oh dear, spider bite! I love that you mix both your love for dogs and food. That shot of the pesto looks reaaally good and zesty. Perhaps I should make that next for my housemates =)

Pamela said...

I have been looking for a really good pesto recipe all summer. This looks so wonderful. I am trying it for dinner tonight. Saw you on food gawker. Thanks

Rose said...

Oh my, that looks delicious! We just got a little basil plant, and it's begging to be made into pesto :D