This dish makes us so nostalgic for the Cinque Terre. We went there as a short honeymoon and the beauty and wonderful flavors of the region did us in. We fell in love all over again. I can't say too much about this recipe without getting a little glassy eyed and so will just post this recipe as is. The basil was from our garden, but we brought back some olive oil from the Ligurian region to get a more "authentic" taste.

1/2 pound trofiette pasta or other short tubular shape
4 oz. fresh basil
4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese or Pe
2 tablespoons pinoli nuts (pine nuts)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (light in flavor)
Salt for pasta water and to taste,
blanched string beans(optional)
boiled potatoes(optional)

Wash the basil leaves in cold water and dry them on a towel. With a marble mortar and wooden pestle pound the garlic into a paste. The garlic should not overwhelm the basil. Add some salt and grind it into the garlic paste. Add the basil a little at a time and with a gentle swirling motion grinding it into the garlic. You get the best taste by gently grinding the leaves. At this point add the pine nuts, a handful at a time. When the nuts are soft and incorporated start adding the cheese. Begin to add the extra virgin olive oil. It is important the flavor of the oil is light so that it doesn’t overwhelm the flavor of the basil. The light olive oil of the Luguria blends perfectly with the basil mixture.
Boil the water salting it sufficiently and drop in the trofiette.  Toss it well with the pesto and serve the grated cheese either Parmesan or Pecorino on the side. Drizzle the same light extra virgin olive oil over the top.


2009 Hugues de Beauvignac Coteaux du Languedoc Picpoul-De-Pinet
A Cinqueterre DOC would be my favorite pick for this traditional Ligurian dish. However, since these wines are hard to find outside of their region, I have selected a fresh Southern French one. Picpoul blanc is a grape variety grown mostly in the Languedoc region and it produces light bodied and lemon flavored wines.
This wine has been vinified in stainless steel temperature controlled vats and neither underwent malolactic fermentation nor saw oak barrels.

Tasting notes:
Pale straw color with green shimmers. Citrus driven nose, along with wet rocks and floral notes. Light bodied, lively and elegant wine, with a relatively low acidity that provides a good balance, as this wine is not on the fruity side. The flavor is mostly fresh crushed lemon (retail $9.99 - AVIN3572954729636).

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