Fresh and traditional at the same time
Pesto, the dish from Genoa that speaks all languages
The Liguria region borders Piemonte and its culinary influence can be felt everywhere. Pesto, a traditional paste made from basil, pine nuts, parmesan and pecorino cheeses, olive oil and garlic, is enjoyed all year round.
At Christmas time, things like to get a little richer and more special, adding green beans and floury potatoes (also very traditional in Liguria) and prawns fried in olive oil and dressed with pomegranate syrup. The pomegranate syrup gives the dish a slightly sweet and sour note that goes perfectly with the rich pesto.
While traditional pesto is made with a mortar and pestle, I use my blender. A little water is added to make the pesto creamier and easier to spread in the pasta. This delicious holiday dish is easy to customize with small tweaks for surprise guests.
500 g high-quality linguini
3 floury potatoes
250 grams of green beans
2 large handfuls of basil leaves
50g grated Reggiano Parmesan
50g grated Pecorino Romano
75 g pine nuts
125 g of high quality extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of water
400 g large prawns
25 ml pomegranate syrup (or balsamic vinegar)
First, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add a handful of salt. When the water starts to boil, add the potatoes.
Meanwhile, add all the ingredients for the pesto to the blender or food processor. Chop the ingredients until they are made into a coarse paste. If you want the pesto to be creamier, add a few drops of water until you get the consistency you want.
After the potatoes have boiled for 3 minutes, add the linguini and cook for the time indicated on the package (2 minutes less for "al dente"). When the cooking time is 5 minutes longer, add the beans and stir. The potatoes, beans and pasta are now mixed in the pot.
Drain the mixture when the pasta has finished cooking. Add your pesto and mix thoroughly. Season with salt and pepper and cover with a lid.
Put two tablespoons of olive oil in a hot pan. When the oil is hot but not smoking, the shrimp come in and stir-fry over high heat. When they are done, reduce the heat and add the pomegranate syrup. Coat the shrimp in the syrup by stirring and remove from heat.
This dish tastes best when served with a white wine . Our favorite wine for this recipe is the Timorasso , our wine of the week. It has wonderful, deep aromas of plum and hazelnuts and has a well-structured acidity. It pairs absolutely perfectly with the rich pesto flavors and touch of the sea that the shrimp bring to the dish.