Samin Nosrat / ‘Salt Fat Acid Heat’
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 medium clove garlic, peeled
2 cups tightly packed basil leaves, preferably Genovese
2/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for serving
1/3 cup finely grated pecorino, preferably pecorino sardo
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 pound trofie or spaghetti
Set a large pot of water to boil over high heat.
Use a mortar and pestle to pound and grind the pine nuts to a fine paste (no distinct pieces should be visible). Add the garlic and pound until smooth and integrated.
If the basil leaves are very large, run a knife through them once or twice to cut them down in size. Add basil to pine nuts along with a pinch of salt, which will help break down the leaves. Continue pounding and grinding until the basil breaks down completely (if your mortar is small, pound the basil in batches), about 7 minutes. Once the nuts and basil combine into a thick green paste, stir in Parmesan, pecorino, and oil. Taste and adjust salt as needed.
Generously season water with salt. Cook pasta until al dente, then drain, reserving a cup of cooking water.
Place cooked pasta in serving bowl and stir in pesto. Add splashes of cooking water and olive oil as needed to loosen the sauce and ensure the pasta is evenly coated. Garnish with Parmigiano and serve immediately.
Immerse any leftover pesto in olive oil. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Green Bean Caprese Salad
1 pound fresh slender green beans
1 pound small yellow potatoes
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes halved
1-½ cups fresh mozzarella pearls see Café Tips above
freshly ground black pepper
flaky sea salt
For the pine nuts:
2 tablespoons pine nuts
½ teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
⅛ teaspoon kosher salt
Lemon Basil Oil
Fill a large pot or Dutch oven three-quarters full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of kosher salt and the green beans. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until beans are crisp-tender.
Scoop beans out of water with a slotted spoon and place in a large strainer. (Do not discard water.) Rinse beans with cold water to stop cooking process. Spread the beans out on a kitchen towel to cool. If making in advance, wrap beans in several thickness of paper towels and place in a zippered bag in the refrigerator.
Return water to a boil and add the potatoes. Reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until potatoes are tender, 8-10 minutes. Drain potatoes. If cooking in advance, drizzle lightly with olive oil and refrigerate when cool.
For the pine nuts, combine pine nuts, oil and salt in a small sauté pan. Cook over medium heat, stirring continuously until light golden brown.
Combine the cooled beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and mozzarella pearls on a large serving platter.
Drizzle generously with Lemon Basil Oil. Season with flaky sea salt and freshly ground pepper.
Scatter toasted pine nuts over the top, just before serving.