I was in New York city several weeks ago and whenever I’m there I go to Eataly on 23rd Street. I needed to warm up and kill some time before meeting someone for dinner. While wandering in this Italian pornographic food emporium, I meandered into the pasta section and bought some interesting pasta shapes that I hadn’t seen before. To me there is nothing more fun than researching regional recipes. One of the pastas I bought (and didn’t have to take out a mortgage to buy!) was Croxetti. I was waiting for my brother-in-law, Russell to come to town to make it.
Croxetti originated in Liguria, in Northern Italy along the border with France, during the middle ages. In the past they were made by local peasants and used by aristocratic families as a display of wealth and status. A thin, disc shaped, Ligurian pasta that has been hand stamped with the family arms on one side and different designs, such as palm trees, sunsets, and sailboats on the other side. The disks are approximately 1¾ inches in width. This recipe is very popular in the region, which includes potatoes and green beans boiled in the same water with the pasta. I think this pasta bears a scary resemblance to Communion wafers!
Croxetti with Potatoes, Green Beans & Pesto
3–4 medium Yukon gold potatoes, in 1/2-inch cubes (about 1 heaping cup)
2 large handfuls slender green beans (if using frozen beans, thaw them slightly)
8 oz dry pasta
2 Tbs prepared pesto
1 cup (loosely packed) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
salt and freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of well-salted water (taste it; it should be as salty as the sea) to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 4 minutes. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions—adding the green beans to the pot when you have 2 minutes of cooking time remaining. Cook until the pasta is al dente, the potatoes tender and the beans still crisp.
Drain the pasta and vegetables, retaining 1/2 cup of cooking water. Return the pasta and vegetables to the pot and stir in the pesto; add a bit of liquid if needed to create a thin sauce. Stir in the Parmesan and season to taste with salt and freshly grated pepper. Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.