Chef Bill Varley of Torchio Pasta Bar
Torchio Pasta Bar
738 N. Wells St.
30 oz (3 ¾ cups) Gemelli pasta
12 oz (1 ½ cups) Strings beans, blanched
12 oz (1 ½ cups) Yukon potatoes, quartered
8 cups fresh basil leaves, no stems
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/3 cups pignoli (pine) nuts
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup Grapeseed Oil
Parmesan cheese to taste
- Bring salted water to a boil then add pasta. For dried pasta, cooking approximately 11 minutes and for fresh pasta, cook 4 to 5 minutes.
- Drain pasta in colander, reserving a half cup of the cooking water for the pesto sauce.
- While pasta is cooking, blanch string beans for about 3 minutes until crisp/tender. Then shock in an ice bath to keep the green color vibrant.
- With quartered potatoes, blanch until the tip of the knife goes into the tip of the potato. Do not overcook and put into an ice bath to stop cooking.
- Start making the pesto sauce by chopping garlic in food processor. Then add basil,pignolinuts and salt until finely chopped. NOTE: If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a blender, or do it by hand using a sharp knife or mezzaluna.
6. With the food processor running, add the oils in a slow steady stream through the feed tube until the mixture is thoroughly blended .
7. Transfer to container and fold in the Parmesan cheese and cover with a thin layer of olive oil.
- Put pesto in sauté pan on medium heat with a splash of pasta water. The starch in the pasta water makes the sauce silky and is binding.
- Add cooked pasta to sauté pan with pesto and mix.
- Add cooked potatoes and string beans to sauté pan and combine.
- Plate and sprinkle with fresh parmesan.