Runner bean and pesto trofie

Runner bean and pesto trofie


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This is a take on one of the classic dishes of Italy, replacing green beans with runner beans. It is elegant and perfect in every way.

  • 500g of trofie pasta
  • 400g of runner beans
  • Pesto

  • 2 bunches of basil, leaves picked
  • 2 tbsp of pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled (small)
  • 2 tbsp of pecorino, grated
  • 4 tbsp of Parmesan, grated, plus extra for grating over the dish before serving
  • 125ml of olive oil
  • 2 tbsp of water
  • salt
  • pepper
Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4
Start by making the pesto. Place the pine nuts on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 5 minutes until golden. Allow to cool
I prefer a smooth pesto (which is controversial) but I like the pale green colour you get from it. If you’re on board with this, then place all of the ingredients for the pesto (except the oil) in a blender (not a food processor). Blend for a few seconds to get it going, then slowly drizzle in the olive oil until you have a smooth green sauce
If you take umbrage with smooth pesto, then you can also make it in a pestle and mortar. In this case, leave out the water. Place the garlic, pine nuts, basil, salt and pepper in the mortar and pound until you have a paste. Mix in the grated cheese and olive oil. In both cases check the seasoning and adjust as necessary
Prep the runner beans. If the beans are young and tender, then you can probably get away with not having to de-string them. If they’re older then remove the strings by running a peeler down the length of the edge of the bean (the side that has a small ridge on it) and top and tail them
Once this is done, slice the runner beans at an angle into dainty ribbons, about ½ cm wide. Boil the beans in a pot of salted water for about 4 minutes until they are just cooked (but certainly not al-dente). Drain
Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the trofie according to the packet instructions. Two minutes before the pasta is ready, warm the beans and pesto, along with 3 tablespoons of the pasta cooking water
When the pasta is ready, drain it, reserving a teacup full of the cooking water. Mix the pasta in with the beans and pesto. Check the seasoning. Add enough pasta water so that you have a slick sauce that gently clings to the trofie
Serve immediately with a little extra grated Parmesan on top
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