At Pasta Evangelists we love sharing with you pasta recipes from across Italy and today we’re turning our spotlight to the beautiful region of Liguria in the north west, famed for the stretch of coastline known as the Italian Riviera. Perched on the edge of the ocean, in the heart of this region, lies Genoa, a beautiful port city famed for its pesto amongst other culinary delights. However, today we’re not talking about the classic pesto alla Genovese so much as one of its most authentic accompaniments, bavette pasta.
What is Bavette?
At first glance it would be easy to confuse bavette for tagliatelle, their Emilia-Romagnan counterpart, but upon closer inspection it is remarkably easy to tell these pasta varieties apart. Bavette are very thin, flat pasta strands with a slightly convex cross-section, much narrower in width than tagliatelle. The name literally means ‘little threads’ in italian, which explains the ribbon-like appearance of this pasta. Each strand, or ‘thread’, is about 10 inches long but no more than ¼ inch wide.
Often thought to be one of the most ancient varieties of pasta, bavette have been used in Ligurian cooking for centuries, though they are not found extensively outside of this region. The Genovese heritage of bavette explains the most common pairing for this pasta which is with pesto sauces, particularly the region’s namesake, pesto alla Genovese, a classic basil pesto made with pine nuts.
Which Sauces Pair Well with Bavette?
Bavette are usually served with pesto sauces, in homage to their Ligurian origins. Fresh, herbal pestos made with leafy herbs like basil and parsley are a particularly popular pairing for bavette. The slightly textured strands provide the perfect surface for the velvety pesto to cling to, ensuring every mouthful is packed with delicious flavour. Check out our pesto page for lots of saucy inspiration!
Whilst a green, pine-nut based pesto would be the obvious choice of pairing here, bavette also go very well with other vegetable sauces or even with fish-based dishes, as evidenced by the extensive influence of seafood in Liguria’s culinary culture. In fact, bavette could be used to replace spaghetti or linguine in a typical alle Vongole - a classic Italian pasta dish prepared with fresh clams.
Our Bavette alla Genovese Recipe
For more information about our classic Ligurian pesto alla Genovese, check out this blog post.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Calories per serving: 455kcal
- 300g dried bavette (or fresh if you can find it)
- 90g fresh basil, roughly chopped
- 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 100g Parmigiano Reggiano, grated
- 25g pine nuts
- 1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Begin by gently toasting the pine nuts in a dry frying pan over medium-high heat until they start to brown. Keep moving them around the pan to prevent burning.
- Put the basil, Parmigiano Reggiano, and garlic along with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil into a pestle and mortar and grind until creamy, or combine in a blender and blitz.
- Add the pine nuts and grind until they start to break down and combine with the basil mixture.Continue until you have a thick paste with a slightly chunky consistency.
- Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the mortar or blender if you think it’s required and continue to grind until smooth.
- Whilst you prepare your pesto, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil. Cook your bavette as per the packet instructions, removing 1-2 minutes early if you prefer your pasta al dente.
- Drain your pasta and transfer to a large bowl with the pesto. Toss gently to coat and serve immediately. Buon appetito!
At Pasta Evangelists, we bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen. Prepared using the freshest ingredients, our gourmet pasta dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy restaurant-quality meals, delivered to your door, and ready in under five minutes. Order from our weekly menu today, and we’ll offer you 25% off your first delivery - simply enter the code BLOG25 at checkout.