Are you someone who still loves carbs? Yes? Then I have a great recipe for you today! Pesto pasta with green beans and potatoes is a classic dish from Liguria which seems like too much at first glance. Pasta AND potatoes? Just taste it and you’ll realize it works.
Yes, I still love carbs.
No one is taking pasta out of my Italian American hands! In fact, you will be seeing more pasta dishes here since I think it will be fun to bring more focus on all the great ways to enjoy pasta. Quick pastas, slow pastas, cold and hot pastas. Now I feel like I’m writing a Dr. Seuss book…Say! What a lot of pastas there are
This particular pasta dish is one I came across many years ago. It’s not anything like what we cooked at home growing up, but I liked the idea of the potatoes and the green beans tossed with pesto pasta. I’m always on the lookout for great vegetarian meals, like my Cauliflower with Orecchiette and Pine Nuts, which I can add to my repertoire. As soon as I tried it, I knew it was a keeper!
It’s so amazing when a recipe is great right out of the gate without needing much in the way of improving. (Not that I could resist making a few changes over the years.)
Should I tell you the tale of the two peach dishes I made this past week?
A disaster and a home run. Oh, yes there are disasters here in my kitchen just there are in many other kitchens! Maybe yours sometimes too? Trying something new doesn’t always work out.
For the disaster, I decided to make a peach bread. Seemed easy enough. Make a quick bread and add peaches. So I found a recipe for peach quick bread in my travels around the internet and made it. Hmmm. I don’t know if it was the recipe or if I didn’t follow it carefully enough, but there was dough bubbling over the sides getting all over my oven and I managed to pull it out while it was still raw in the middle. Not my best day. Next time I’ll use my own banana bread recipe and switch it to peaches.
For the home run, I decided to make a peach buttermilk bundt cake. My mom had asked me to make my Strawberry Rhubarb Bundt Cake and bring it up when we were visiting last week. However, I had peaches! Lots of peaches. 🙂 So I switched the recipe to peaches, changed the flavoring up a bit, made a maple glaze, and topped it with toasted pecans. And it was so tasty with caramel notes and lots of peach flavor and a tangy sweet glaze!
While I am totally going to turn that disaster into a home run, it’s so nice when it works the first time.
For this pasta dish, so long as you keep the basics the same – potatoes, green beans, pasta, and pesto, you can add your own stamp to the recipe.
Maybe you grow (or find at the store) romano beans, which are flat green beans also called Italian green beans, or want to mix some yellow beans in there. Maybe you prefer a waxier or starchier potato than the yellow potatoes I love in the dish.
There are also different types of basil to add to your pesto and different pesto variations. I sometimes add baby spinach to mine. More veggies in the mix and the spinach keeps the pesto green longer than basil alone.
One variation I do love and do every time I make this recipe, is to add some balsamic vinegar to the pesto. I find it brightens the flavor and adds a little zip to the pasta so I always remember to add that in!
Another change you can make is to the pasta. I prefer a wide noodle, like a fettuccine or a pappardelle, with the pesto. However, I have seen people use penne or linguini or rotini. If you want to be very traditional, find some trenette! You might have to order it, but that is the pasta of Liguria.
Traditional, or with a little variation added to the mix, this pesto pasta with green beans and potatoes is worth trying! It’s one of our favorites and I hope it becomes one of yours.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
Pesto Pasta with Green Beans and Potatoes
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 3 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 medium garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup (1/2 oz) shredded parmesan
- salt and pepper, to taste
Pasta and Vegetables
- 4 medium yellow potatoes, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 12 oz green beans, cut into 1 - 1 1/2 inch pieces
- 10 oz fettuccine
- In the bowl of a food processor, puree the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and balsamic until finely chopped. With the processor running, add the oil in a stream until it is all incorporated. Scrape the pesto out of the processor and into a bowl. Add the parmesan cheese and mix it in. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.
Pasta and Vegetables
- Everything cooks in the same pot of water. Don't dump out the water until the very end.
- Fill a large pot with water. Add the potatoes and a couple of tablespoons of kosher salt. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the potatoes have begun to boil, cook them for 12-15 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the potatoes. Use a spider or slotted spoon (or a mesh strainer) to scoop out the potatoes into a bowl.
- Add the green beans to the pot and cook them for 5-6 minutes, or until tender. Scoop them out into the bowl.
- Add the fettuccine to the pot and cook according to the package directions. Before draining the pasta, scoop out 1 cup of pasta water into a cup. When the pasta is done, drain the pasta and add to the bowl.
Assemble the Dish
- Add the pesto and 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the bowl with the past and vegetables. Toss well so that the pasta water and pesto emulsify into a creamy sauce. If needed add more pasta water a little at a time so that the sauce is creamy but not watery.
- You can cook all the ingredients together in the pot instead of doing them one at a time. I prefer to cook separately and use a skimmer to scoop out the potatoes and then the green beans when they are done.
- For a quicker dish, you can use store bought refrigerated pesto in place of the fresh pesto. Just add a tablespoon or two of balsamic to the pesto.