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Pasta with Green Beans, Potatoes and Basil Pesto (Pasta Alla Ligure)

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Pasta with Green Beans, Potatoes and Basil Pesto (Pasta Alla Ligure)

Pasta with Green Beans, Potatoes and Basil Pesto (Pasta Alla Ligure)
Guy Ambrosino
Provided by:
total prep
I first had this dish in a trattoria in the Liguria region of Italy, culinary home of pesto. The combination of pasta, potatoes, and pesto seems unlikely, but it works, creating a hearty primo pungent with the flavor of fresh basil.

Reprinted with permission from Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner? by Lisa Caponigri, 2012. Published by Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co.


  • PESTO:
  • 3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino-romano
  • PASTA:
  • 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 1 1/2 pounds potatoes (preferably yukon gold)
  • 2 pounds pasta, such as gemelli, farfalle, or fusilli
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  • Make the pesto: Put the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and pepper in a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Pour the mixture into a small bowl and stir in the Pecorino. Check the seasonings to taste.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the green beans and blanch until they turn bright green and are tender, approximately 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the beans to a colander and run under cold water to keep them from cooking any further. Set aside.
  • While the beans are cooking, peel the potatoes. Once you’ve removed the beans from the pot of boiling water, add the potatoes and boil until they are soft and can be broken apart with a wooden spoon, approximately 20 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to the colander. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente, 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place the potatoes, green beans, and pesto in a large bowl. Drain the pasta and add to the bowl.
  • Mix together with a wooden spoon. The potatoes should be broken up into chunks in a rustic fashion. If the mixture is too dry, add a little more olive oil.
  • Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.