ABOUT THE RECIPE
Immerse yourself into Italian culture with this staple dish, from Liguria Region
2 bunches fresh basil
2 cups (250 g) semolina flour
1 cup (237 ml) water
1 garlic clove
3 tablespoons (25 g) pine nuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
½ cup (40 g) grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
immersion blender, blender, or mortar & pestle
pot for boiling pasta
Pick the basil leaves from the stems and place them in a bowl of cold water.
Place the semolina flour into a mound on your work surface and make a well in the center, like a volcano. Pour in most of the water and begin mixing with a fork, incorporating the semolina flour a little at a time, until you make a paste. Using your hands now, continue to mix, adding more water as necessary until the dough comes together into a ball. (If you add too much water, that’s okay -- just add more flour.) Knead the dough for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and bounces back when pressed. It shouldn’t be too soft and sticky or too dry; you want a nice firm dough that is ever so slightly tacky. Cover the dough and set it aside to rest for 20-30 minutes.
Peel a garlic clove and cut it in a half. Remove the core of the garlic clove, so that the garlic will have a more delicate flavor. Remove the basil leaves from the water and dry them on a clean towel.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil.
If using an immersion blender, place pine nuts in a tall glass jar; otherwise, place them in your blender or mortar & pestle. Cover the pine nuts with olive oil. Add the garlic and a pinch of salt. Start blending and pulse a couple times until coarsely chopped. Add the basil in three additions, blending each time. Add a tablespoon of olive oil and keep blending. Add cheese and another tablespoon of olive oil.
PASTA SHAPING & COOKING
Working with a quarter of the dough at a time (keeping the remainder covered so as not to dry out), flatten it until it’s ¼-inch thick. Shape your dough into trofie pasta.
Add one tablespoon of oil to your boiling water and drop the pasta in the pot. Let cook for 4-5 minutes. Taste to make sure it’s al dente. Reserve a few tablespoons of pasta water, then strain.
Place pesto on your serving plate. Add a spoon of your boiling water to the pesto and mix to make it creamier. Drain your pasta and add it to the plate with pesto.
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