How do I create a project that tracks a small subset of pages?
Look at creating page segment(s).
Will suit you best. Allows you to make a grouping based on hit or visit.(each has some implications in terms of results)
The segment(s) then can be used to apply against reportles which you then can use in a dashboard.
Or...pull in the page dimension and metric you require. Then filter on page and use search parameters to include the pages you want or any commonality to give you the pages you require
Sounds like a perfect use case for segments, which allow you to create a filter on a report. Here's a great playlist that teaches how to use segments in analysis workspace.