In Liguria, along the coast of Italy right across the border from France, there are as many recipes for pesto as there are cooks. Here we take advantage of the late summer abundance of basil to make a slightly unusual variation on this beguiling green sauce, made with sweet pistachios and sharp, tangy pecorino.
Trenette with Pistachio Pesto
Fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 cups (2 oz./60 g) lightly packed fresh basil leaves
1 cup (1 oz./30 g) lightly packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) shelled roasted unsalted pistachios
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
1/2 to 3/4 cup (4 to 6 fl. oz./125 to 180 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, plus more for serving
1 lb. (500 g) dried trenette or linguine
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
In a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, pistachios, garlic, 3/4 tsp. salt and a few grindings of pepper. Process just until the herb leaves and nuts are coarsely chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed. With the motor running, drizzle in just enough olive oil to achieve a thick sauce consistency. Scrape the pesto into a bowl and stir in the pecorino.
Add the trenette to the boiling water and cook until al dente, about 11 minutes or according to the package instructions. Drain, reserving about 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) cooking water. Transfer the pasta to a serving bowl and spoon about three-fourths of the pesto over it. Using a large serving fork or pasta fork, gently toss the noodles with the pesto. Add a splash or two of the pasta-cooking water to loosen the sauce if needed. Divide among 4 shallow bowls. Dollop a little of the remaining pesto on top of each serving, sprinkle with a little cheese and serve. Pass additional cheese at the table. Serves 4.
Recipe adapted from Rustic Italian, by Domenica Marchetti