You haven’t tried the real Pasta with Pesto if you haven’t eaten this traditional version with potatoes and green beans. Pesto goes well with almost any ingredient, but nothing compares to this pairing. This is the traditional version from Liguria, where Pesto was born.
I can smell the aroma of this dish just by looking at the photos. Pasta with Pesto has always been one of my favorite dishes, so comforting and delicious. A flavor that never gets old and it’s never tiring.
I was eating pasta with pesto every single day for lunch when I was in high school and today I love it just as much as I did back then.
The addition of potatoes and green beans is part of the traditional recipe and it’s a good way to sneak extra veggies in your meal.
The potatoes will make the pesto more creamy with their starch and the green beans will blend in with their green color but give you a different consistency and addition of flavour in every bite.
To eat this dish in all its traditional glory, you should also use a traditional pasta shape. The perfect pasta for pesto is of course Trofie, the traditional pasta shape from Liguria, same as pesto. Check this recipe on how to make Trofie and Pesto from scratch. Another traditional combination is with Trenette or Linguine.
Cooking Green Beans the Italian way
The most common way of cooking green beans is by blanching then. Tossing them in boiling water for 3-4 minutes and then move to an ice bath to stop the cooking, retaining the bright green color and crunchiness.
Italians do it differently. We cook our vegetables to death. We cook them until they can no longer hold their shape or color, becoming soft and wilted. We boil our vegetables for around 20 minutes and then in some cases we sautè them in a pan with olive oil and garlic, before composing the final dish.
Why do Italians overcook most vegetables? Because we are comfort food people. We like the creamy and buttery dishes, where vegetables can blend in without being the star. This is how are grandmas used to do it and this is how we keep cooking. Even in most Trattorie, the rustic italian restaurants which mostly make traditional recipes, you’ll ever hardly find crisp vegetables. But you’ll always find flavorful comforting dishes.
If you want to make your own basil Pesto from scratch, follow this recipe!
Pasta with Pesto, Green Beans and Potatoes
- 2 small Potatoes
- 120 g (4oz) Green Beans
- 170 g (6oz) Pasta
- 4-5 tbsp Pesto
- 1 tbsp Pine Nuts
- 2-3 tbsp Parmigiano cheese
- In a small pan, add the pine nuts and turn up the heat. Toss them once in while until they are toasted on both sides.
- Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes. Clean the green beans and also chop them into 1 inch pieces.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil, then toss the potatoes and green beans and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Halfway through the cooking, add the pasta to the pot and cook until al dente (follow package instructions). Drain the pasta and the veggies at the same time. Keep aside a little bit of cooking water.
- Put the pasta back in the empty pot and add the pesto. Mix well, adding a little bit of the water to loosen up the sauce.
- Serve immediately, adding the toasted pine nuts on top and freshly grated Parmigiano cheese.
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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