Posted by: tomciocco | April 23, 2010

AN EASY FACSIMILE OF A LIGURIAN CLASSIC

My wife Jen and I went to Liguria on our honeymoon and this is a dish that we ate there  several times, and that I had made prior as well as hence. The traditionally turned out version of this dish however takes a month of Sundays to make, and sometimes the calendar just won’t roll that way, right?…The magical dish in question is pesto alla genovese con fagiolini e patate a.k.a. pasta with pesto, green beans, and potatoes. It’s one of those dishes that you can really carry a torch for…

I’d usually pair this ersatz as well as the original dish with a Ligurian white like a Pigato or maybe a Vermentino, but I didn’t have one, so I went with  a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo which was targeted more at the main course -Molise style  stuffed peppers…A review of the wine and recipe for the pasta:

CAMILLO MONTORI MONTEPULCIANO D’ABRUZZO 2007

Sultry and saturated blackish crimson color. Nice nose of plum and  black raspberry fruit accented with wood smoke, brown spices, and dried flowers. The texture is satistfyingly chewy and well balanced finishing with warm, lengthy notes of wild berries preserved in spirits.

Pasta with potatoes, green beans and basil

10 oz. of fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 in. pieces

1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 3/4 in. cubes

5 fluid oz. extra virgin olive oil

1 large clove of garlic, minced

about 30 fresh basil leaves

1/3 cup grated ParmigianoReggiano

1/3 cup grated Pecorino Romano

Salt and pepper to taste

– Set a large pot of  water salted to “broth level” to boil 1 pound of pennoni, zite, or fettuccine.

– Boil the beans in a large saucepan in small amount of salted water until quite tender  – about 1o minutes. Drain and shock under cold water and set aside.

– Bring a saucepan of a salted water to a boil and add the potatoes boil for about 5-6 minutes or until tender but not crumbling (remember this is a baking potato, which is usually not the go-to variety to boil, but when mixed with the pasta and the other ingredients, it begins to break up and helps to form a creamy sauce.). Drain and return the potatoes to the saucepan.

– Add the green beans to the potatoes along with the oil, and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Set the pan over low heat, and carefull y turn to coat with the oil, and heat until very warm.

– Add the garlic, and then a few leaves at a time, shred the basil with your fingers into the pan, and stir carefully once again.

– Turn off the heat  and stir in the cheeses. Reserve about a half a cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta (cooked al dente), return to the boiling pot, add the sauce and stir well. Then with one hand vigorously stir the pasta while slowly adding the reserved pasta water until a creamy sauce forms.

– Serve immediately with more cheese grated at the table. Buon appetito!

TOM CIOCCO

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