I saw some fresh green beans on the market today and some new potatoes and it made me think of a pasta dish that my friend Gloria always serves me when I visit their family in Italy. The Genovese word comes from Genoa, a city in northern Italy on the Mediterranean Sea where, probably, this recipe either originated or was adopted as local. There is another meat dish with the same name. Don’t ask me how these two very different pastas have the same name.
There are variations on this but here is how I have ended up doing it. A very simple meal, vegetarian, making use of fresh vegetables from the fall garden.
Pine nuts ( lightly toasted in the oven)
Fusili pasta ( I use this but I think that the recipe may be more “original” with a long thin pasta like spaghetti or tagliatelle.)
Pesto (I buy it ready made up and use about half a jar in the recipe. You can make your own from olive oil, pine nuts and basil if you are adventuresome.)
Parmesan cheese on top. (when I visit Gloria in Italy she always takes me to a local market where I can buy a huge hunk of aged Parmesan to bring home with me.)
Shopping for Parmesan at the San Michele grocer.
Prepare the potatoes and beans. Scrub the potatoes and cut them into cubes, maybe one inch in size and cut the ends off the beans and slice them into smaller bits.
In a large pot add a tablespoon or so of sea salt to cold water. Put the potatoes into the pot, cover it and bring it to a boil. Let it boil for a couple of minutes then add the green beans. Let them boil for three or four minutes then throw in the pasta and cook it for about 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is “al dente”.
Drain the lot and dump it into a large bowl. Add half the bottle of pesto and turn the ingredients in it until coated.
Serve it onto a plate with grated parmesan cheese. (and a few tomatoes for colour.)
I don’t measure the ingredients, just throwing in a balanced lot. Leftovers store well in the fridge and are even more tasty the second day when the pesto has leeched into the potatoes.
Thinking of you, Gloria, as I enjoy this treat.
The hills by San Michele, Italy