Pesto with Trofiette Pasta

Pesto with Trofiette Pasta

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Recipe by Stephen Pavy

Serves 6 as a main dish, 12 as a side dish

Serve with

Joseph Phelps Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc
Fogdog Pinot Noir

Easily made ahead of time. Do not assemble until ready to serve, that is, keep pesto, potatoes, haricot verts, and pasta separate until assembly. Easy to double recipe but pesto will need to be done in batches.

½ lb. Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1/8-inch rounds
  Coarse salt, to taste, plus ½ tsp.
  Leaves from 2 bunches fresh basil
¼ cup Pine nuts, toasted, plus crushed pine nuts for garnish
2 Garlic cloves
¼ cup Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
½ cup Olive oil, plus more as needed
1 lb. Trofiette pasta (this is a thin, twisted pasta and looks hand-rolled; other pasta can be substituted, but the thinness and twistiness of this “grabs” the pesto well)
½ lb. Haricot verts, trimmed


Put the potatoes in a pot and add cold water to cover by 2 inches; salt generously. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the potatoes are just tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

Put the basil, ¼ cup pine nuts, garlic, and ½ tsp. salt in a mortar. Using a pestle, grind with a rotating motion until a paste forms, about 5 minutes. Add the ¼ cup of cheese and continue grinding until well combined. Remove the pestle. Using a wooden spoon, briskly stir the pesto while drizzling in ½ cup olive oil. Adjust the seasonings with salt. Pour a small amount of olive oil on the top of the pesto to keep it from turning color. Set aside. (Pesto can be made in a Cuisinart as well, but the coarseness and complexity of flavors is better if you can use a mortar and pestle.)

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package instructions. During the last 3 minutes of cooking, add the haricot verts to the boiling pasta. Drain, reserving ¼ cup of the cooking water. (Note: if making ahead of time, cook haricot verts separately and then plunge in ice cold water when finished cooking. Keep separate until assembly.)

In a large bowl, combine the pasta, haricot verts, potatoes, pesto and the reserved cooking water and toss gently to combine. Garnish with cheese and crushed pine nuts. Serve immediately.