I've blogged about my favorite Ligurian pasta dish before, even included a recipe—and I hate to revisit old blog recipes. But last night I made trofie pasta (now available at Tesco) and tweaked the recipe I've posted before. The result? I thought for a moment I'd been transported to the Cinque Terre...but one look out at my gloomy garden convinced me I was still home in boring England. My taste buds weren't convinced. They sang their way through helping after helping, washed over by a white wine vaguely reminiscent of the Italian Riviera.
When I saw a bag of fresh trofie pasta at Tesco, I figured it might be something my daughters, visiting for the summer, might enjoy. One loves pasta, the other potatoes, and the Ligurians use both in their traditional trofie pasta dish. And green beans happened to be on sale.
But Daughter Number Two didn't want pesto—she's decided she's allergic to garlic. Fortunately, the other day I'd made this dish, which features a cashew basil cream, and we had leftover cream. It turned out to be the perfect non-garlicky substitute, making Trofie Pasta with Potatoes, Green Beans and Basil Cream our new favorite comfort food.
Who says comfort food has to come from your native country?
And who says you can't revisit a recipe now and again?
If you can find trofie pasta, wonderful. (Here's a link for US-based readers.) Trofie is sometimes made with chestnut flour—you can make your own following the recipe here. But it does have a thicker texture than regular pasta, so try to substitute with a denser pasta if you can't find trofie. I used a waxy salad potato, Exquisa from Tesco.
And if you're new to vegan cooking and worry about using a cashew-based cream, this is a great entry level introduction. Unlike some fussier cashew cream recipes, the cashews don't need to be soaked in water beforehand. You will need a food processor, but you already have one of those, right?
Keep reading for instructions:
First, make the basil cream:
1/2 cup cashews, ground
1 cup packed basil leaves
1 lemon, juiced
1 tablespoon light miso
3/4 cup water
salt, to taste
Combine the cashews, basil, lemon juice, and miso in a food processor. Process until smooth. Slowly pour in the water and combine thoroughly. Add salt to taste (a few shakes) and remove the mixture to a large bowl (large enough to hold all the rest of the ingredients, with plenty of room to toss) until ready to use.
Trofie pasta, enough for 4 servings
1 1/2 cup potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized chunks (about 1/2 inch)
1/2 lb green beans, trimmed and cut in half
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil (you'll be putting all the ingredients into the pot, so make sure it's big enough). If you're using dried trofie pasta, add that first—it takes a good 15 minutes to cook. Otherwise, add the potato cubes.
When you estimate you have about 10 minutes left to cook the pasta, add the potatoes. In another 5 minutes, add the green beans. After another 5 minutes or so, taste the pasta for doneness. Pour into a colander and add the drained pasta mixture to the bowl with the basil cream.
Toss well, and serve warm.