Basil Pesto with Potatoes, Green Beans and Pasta

serves 4

I never measure anything for this recipe.  I grab two handfuls of greens beans, count out a few potatoes according to how many people I am serving, eyeball the pasta - you get it.  So the amounts I'm giving you are just a base.  You can make this recipe the way you want - if you want more greens beans and less pasta, just adjust it how you like it.  The star here, as far as I'm concerned, is the pesto.  Enjoy.  


10 small new potatoes, sliced into 1/4 slices
2 cups of green beans, stem ends snapped off
8 ounces of linguini (or whatever pasta you like)
2 ounces of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup pine nuts*
2 cups packed fresh basil
1/4 cup olive oil
sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper


You only need one large pot to cook everything in!

Fill a large pot with water and the potatoes and add about 2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt. You want the water to be nicely salted to not only flavor the pasta, but to maintain the shape of the potatoes and the greenness of the beans.    Bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until they are just done, about 13 - 15 minutes.  Take a slice out and poke it with a sharp knife to test.  If it easily pierces it, they are done.  Remove the potatoes with a strainer or spider and place in a large serving bowl.  Do not dump out your water. 

To the same pot and water, add the green beans and cook until they are just done, about 7-8 minutes.  Make sure they are done all the way, with no hint of a raw flavor.  Remove with the spider and add the beans to the potatoes in your serving dish.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook the linguini until just al dente - about 8 minutes.  Test for doneness. Remove with a pair of tongs and add to your serving dish.  A little bit of pasta water on the linguini is fine - this will help make a "sauce" of the pesto.

While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto.  Place the cheese and the garlic in a food processor and process until fine.  Add the basil and pine nuts and process.  Start adding the olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto is all thoroughly processed.  You may have to use a spatula to scrape it down.  Taste the pesto and add a little sea salt if you like.

Add the pesto and a few grinds of black pepper to the serving bowl ingredients and toss well.  Add a tablespoon or two of the hot pasta water if you need help in blending the pesto.   Serve at room temperature.  

Leftovers the next day are great.

* if you find pine nuts too expensive, raw walnuts or even raw almonds can be substituted

The Italian Dish