I think I may have mentioned that I used to live in Genoa, home of pesto. I spent a semester there as an Erasmus student having the time of my life. And eating trenette al pesto. Lots of it. In Genoa it’s like a religion, it´s got to be done the right way. Your basil needs to come from a certain field (called Pra, in case you didn’t know) and your oil from the area surrounding Genoa, Liguria. Well my basil came from Carrefour and my oil from Andalusia, but I´ve tried to recreate pesto as it’s served in Genoa. Although, hopefully the method is correct I’ve made a few substitutions. Wholemeal spaghetti for linguine, nutritional yeast for parmesan… You forgive me, don’t you?
What is traditional though are the potatoes. Yes, they serve pasta with potatoes. Not for Paleo fans! If you´ve never tried it give it go, it coats the spaghetti in a little starch giving it an extra tastiness. I was also going to add green beans because that’s tradional too, but they didn’t have any at the greengrocer’s so I changed them for courgette. Oh well, maybe not such a classic pesto after all…
I bought a packet of 20g of basil but by the time I had removed the stalks it was 15g of leaves, just so you know…
Spaghetti with Classic Pesto (almost)
Preparation Time: 10 minutes Servings: 2 Cooking Time: 15 minutes Total: 25 minutes
100g wholewheat spaghetti
2 small potatoes
4 green french beans or a 6 courgette batons about 10 cm long (basically bean shaped)
15g basil leaves
2 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 a large clove of garlic 0r 1 small one
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 tbsp extra vigin olive oil
1. Put a large saucepan filled with water on the stove to boil.
2. Cut the potatoes into chunks (leave the skin on) and add to the saucepan.
3. Wash the beans, top and tail them and cut them into 3 equal parts OR wash the courgette and cut it into bean sized pieces.
4. Put the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, a generous pinch of salt, nutritional yeast and olive oil in a blender and blend until smooth.
5. When the water is boiling add a pinch of salt, a dash of olive oil, the spaghetti and the beans or courgette. Leave to boil for 10 minutes or according to the cooking instructions for the spaghetti.
6. Place the serving dishes on the counter. Add three tablespoons of cooking water to each dish. Drain the spaghetti (and beans/courgette and potato). Put the spaghetti, beans/courgette and potatoes on the plates. Add the pesto on top and mix thoroughly. Sprinkle with more nutrtional yeast if desired.