I was nearly out of ingredients, but I knew from past experience that the dish for tonight was somewhere hidden in my kitchen, just waiting to be discovered. I looked at what I did have – green beans, still as bright as the day I bought them, and basil, remnants from the bunch I’d bought a few days earlier for a lunchtime Caprese salad –a purchase made in ode to the irresistible allure of tomatoes smelling like tomatoes.
An idea then struck me – wasn’t there a pasta dish in Italy from Liguria consisting of green beans, potatoes and pesto? A quick Google search for “Liguria green beans pesto” brought up a Wikepedia name for my thought – Trenette, apparently a type of pasta, but also code for the very green bean, pasta and pesto dish I’d divined.
I got to work. I pulled out the giant mortar and pestle, and started smashing garlic with some parmesan. Next came the basil leaves, a few at a time, punctuating grinds with dribbles of olive oil and then, seeing the bright green color, threw in some pistachios, in lieu of pine nuts, to emphasize the beauty of the green.
While this worked, I brought some salty water to a boil, and started slicing red potatoes and pinching stems off green beans. I sliced a little basil chiffonade for good measure and prepared to pull the whole thing together. Next, I looked up the meaning of trenette and visually observing its similarity to linguini, used that instead.
At last there it was, green creamy sauce, clinging to swirls of pasta nicely raveled together, punctuated by bits of green beans and potatoes lightly slathered in a green veil of pesto. I topped it off with a fresh shaving of Parmigiano-Reggiano, basil chiffonade, freshly ground pepper and a drizzle of my best extra-virgin olive oil. Ah, did it again – pulled out the dish from the pantry!