trenette or linguine 320-400g
basil leaves 4
french beans 200g, topped and tailed (optional)
pesto alla Genovese 8 tbsp (see below)
parmigiano reggiano PDO 60g
For the pesto
fresh basil 4 bunches, ideally PDO Genoese, good Provençal or home-grown outdoors
garlic cloves 1-2, preferably Imperia from Vessalico, or French pink or violet varieties, such as ail rose de Lautrec
pine nuts 30g
coarse sea salt 10g, ideally sale di Cervia
parmigiano reggiano cheese (aged 24 months) 30-40g, grated
fiore sardo (pecorino sardo) cheese 40-50g, grated
PDO extra virgin olive oil from Liguria 50-70ml
To make the pesto, wash the basil leaves in cold water and dry them on a tea towel but without rubbing. The following steps must be done as quickly as possible to avoid oxidation.
Put the garlic and pine nuts in a mortar and pound with the pestle until smooth.
Add a few grains of the salt and some of the basil leaves, then pound the mixture, using a light circular movement of the pestle against the sides of the mortar. Repeat this process until all the basil has been pounded.
When the basil drips bright green liquid, add both cheeses and mix well. Pour a thin layer of the oil over the pesto and mix very lightly.
Cook the pasta in plenty of boiling, well salted water until al dente. If you plan to add beans, put them in the water at the same time as the pasta. When ready, drain the pasta, then return it to the saucepan. Add 8 tablespoons of pesto and stir well so that the pasta is fully coated.
Serve in pasta plates and place a basil leaf in the centre of each portion. Grate some parmigiano on top before eating.