Trenette al Pesto | Authentic Italian Pesto Recipe
There's nothing quite like homemade pesto! While it takes a little time, the process is simple and the results are delicious. Pair your perfect pesto with linguine, potatoes and green beans to make the classic Ligurian dish: trenette al pesto.
Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:
For this recipe, you will need:
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 1 oz. (30g) basil
- Coarse salt
- 1.75 oz. (50g) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 3.5 oz. (100g) green beans
- 1/2 large russet potato, peeled and cubed
- 5.5 oz. (160g) linguine
While pesto can be made using a blender or food processor, we recommend using a mortar and pestle. The mashing action of a pestle releases much more flavor than a blender, which merely chops the ingredients.
Peel the garlic clove and slice it, lengthwise, in half. Use a paring knife to pry the "germ," or core, of the garlic out and discard it. Place the garlic and pine nuts into the mortar and mash them until they create a thick paste.
Working in batches, begin adding the basil leaves one small handful at a time. Mash and grind them until they are almost completely pulped before adding more. A generous sprinkle of coarse salt will help to break up the leaves. Once all of the basil has been completely incorporated, mash in the grated Parmigiano cheese. Here again, work by adding a little bit at a time until all the cheese is mixed in.
To finish the pesto, add olive oil. There is no right amount, but you're looking for a soft, spreadable consistency that isn't too soupy. Add 1-2 tbsp at a time and mix it in until you reach a consistency you like. Taste it and, if necessary, add more salt to taste.
Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt it generously. Add the green beans and cubed potatoes. Boil the vegetable for 3-4 minutes. We recommend 3 minutes if your pasta has a long cook time (10+ minutes) and 4 if your pasta cooks a little quicker (8-10 minutes). After the vegetables have boiled for a few minutes, add the linguine into the pot (yes, with the potatoes and green beans) and cook as directed by the pasta packaging.
While the pasta boils, place the pesto into a large mixing bowl and thin it with a few spoonfuls of pasta water until it forms more of a "saucy" consistency. See the video above.
When the pasta is "al dente" to your taste, use tongs to transfer it (along with the vegetables) into the pesto bowl. Mix all together until the sauce completely coats the pasta. If the sauce seems a little too thick, simply add more pasta water as necessary to thin it.
Serve immediately. Buon appetito!