Friday, November 20, 2020

Pasta Liguria with pesto, new potatoes, and green beans

With this recipe we are travelling in the kitchen to Liguria, in northwestern Italy, where it's Mediterranean coastline is known as the Italian Riviera. Liguria's most famous specialities are pesto and focaccia, which can be served plain, or with tasty variations like onion, olives, sage, cheese etc. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall of River Cottage fame in his veg everyday cookbook, says that this is a traditional pasta dish from Liguria using a delicious homemade pesto. Making your own pesto takes this dish to a whole new level. I am still to find a bought one that I like, but they must be available somewhere I suppose. 

For this recipe I used Hugh's recipe for pesto and combined basil and parsley, however just basil or just parsley would be fine. If you are fortunate enough to have access to a lot of fresh coriander, use that for an equally delicious pesto. This recipe can be prepared in two stages which saves a lot of time at the time of cooking. I made the pesto a few days ago and kept it in the refrigerator, and if you missed the recipe on my In My Kitchen November post here it is. If the pesto is already made, this recipe is cooked up in a jiffy. Another good thing is that this is a one pot dish after the pesto is made. I should also add that I only used the bowtie pasta for this recipe because that is what I had in the pantry. It's a fun pasta to use though.

It also makes a delicious meat free Monday dish that the whole family will love.

Pesto recipe:

Basil Pesto ingredients:

50 g pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted (I used pine nuts this time)
A large bunch of basil (about 30 g), leaves only
1 large bunch of parsley (about 30 g), leaves only
A few mint leaves (optional)
1 garlic clove, chopped
50 g Parmesan, hard goats cheese, or other well flavoured hard cheese, finely grated
 (I use parmesan)
 Finely grated zest of 1/2 lemon
100-150 ml extra virgin olive oil
A good squeeze of lemon juice
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve:

Extra virgin olive oil, to trickle over the top (optional)


Put the toasted pine nuts into the food processor along with the herbs, garlic, grated cheese and lemon zest. Blitz to a paste, then, with the motor running, slowly pour in the olive oil until you have a thick, sloppy puree. Scrape the pesto into a bowl and season with salt, pepper and a good squeeze of lemon juice. This will keep in the refrigerator for a few days. Sometimes I make a  pasta dish using this pesto with new potatoes, and green beans. Delicious!

Lets cook some Pasta. 

Serves 4 generously

Pasta with Pesto, New Potatoes and Green beans Ingredients:

300g new potatoes, I used "baby spud lite" potatoes from Woolworths (no promo intended)

300g pasta, such as farfalle (bowtie shape) or any pasta shape,  or penne, trofie, orecchiette 

200g green or French beans

50g stoned green olives, roughly sliced or chopped



Put a very large pan of well salted water onto the boil. Salting the water heavily (2 tablespoons), is believed to help maintain the bright colour of the beans, and keep the potatoes firm. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into thick matchsticks (like thin chips).

Add the potatoes and pasta to the pan and cook until the pasta is al dente - Probably 10-12 minutes. This should be the right amount of time for the potatoes as well, however I wasn't quite sure and so I added the pasta, cooked it for 2 minutes, then added the potatoes, cooked it all for 5 minutes and then added the green beans for 4 minutes. Perfect timing! The most important thing here is to keep the integrity of the potatoes so that they don't cook too long and break up. If the pasta is the type that cooks very quickly, put the potatoes in a few minutes before you add the pasta. 

Carefully drain off the pasta and vegetables, and let them steam off for a minute or two, then add the pesto and mix thoroughly but gently. Check to see if more salt or pepper is needed, I added a good grinding of pepper.

(If you are worried about the timing though, cook each element separately in the same pot of boiling water.  First the potatoes, when almost done take them out, then the green beans, take them out when almost done, keep the water going and add the pasta until done. Then gently mix everything together.)

Divide between 4 serving bowls, and scatter over the green olives. Grate some parmesan cheese over each bowl and add  an extra trickle of olive oil if you like. Serve with an extra bowl of grated cheese on the table. Mr. HRK and I are having leftovers for lunch today. Yum, can't wait.

I really hope you try this recipe as it is absolutely delicious and so simple to make.

As always your comments will make my day, so please let me know what you think in the comments box.

Happy eating,



  1. I’ve never thought of combining pasta and potatoes together, but I am sure it totally works! Looks delicious.

    1. Thanks Balvinder, combining the two is a first for me too, but it works well and is typical of this particular dish.

  2. Pesto is a staple in our house. And I love mine with lots of cheese :-)) This looks very tasty and comforting!

    1. Thanks Angie, yes when the basil is growing well it is somewhat of a staple here too. So delicious.

  3. This is my kind of pasta dish, simple and delicious. I make my own pesto as and when we need it, using whatever fresh herbs we have :)

    1. Thanks Tandy, yes that is the wonderful thing about pesto isn't it, the herbs and the nuts are all interchangeable.

  4. I've never made an all-parsley pesto. I must try that some day. This is an interesting combo of ingredients, and appeals to me very much. I'd probably cook the potatoes, pasta, and beans in the same pot too -- just easier. Really nice dish -- thanks.

    1. Thanks KR, I'm so pleased you enjoyed this recipe. We don't eat a lot of pasta really, but I made an exception as I loved the sound of this recipe and it didn't disappoint.

  5. your pesto looks delish pauline! i agree - homemade is best! and you can add more of your fave bits (like cheese). Just wondering - and please don't think i'm rude, but has your blog always been 'monetised'? there are a lot of ads on it lately...I've thought of going down that route but ...

  6. Thanks for your comment Sherry, perhaps they have increased the number of ads. No it hasn't always been monetised. They contact me occasionally and I try to insist that the ads don't appear in the content of the blog, only on the side panel and at the bottom.I have to say I don't have quite enough traffic on my blog yet to ever make any money out of it. But perhaps one day I will get a surprise. People need to click on those ads before it translates into any dollars and the formula from Adsense seems very complex. I'll take a look at it though and it might need revising.

    1. me again. it's not a bother, the ads i mean; i just wondered. unlike many of the american blogs where i just give up cos i get so fed up with the ads and the videos and the stuff jumping in your face. I did tell one blogger that i literally couldn't read her blog because of all the guff coming up and taking over the screen completely, but she just said: 'no one else complains!'

  7. Pauline, I bought some pine nuts the other day after your blog post on pesto although I do have some frozen pesto somewhere in the fridge freezer that I made ages ago. Perhaps I should use that first as I probably made it before winter in case we lost our basil which we did. Your recipes always look so yummy.

    1. Thanks Chel, yes probably a good idea to use up your frozen pesto. I am so thankful that basil is growing well again here. This is a cinch of a recipe to cook and very tasty. Stay well, Pauline

  8. I'm really impressed at how simple this dish is, but the taste is amazing!

  9. I love the vegetables you used! We often think tomato sauce or carbonara, but Italian people are very skillful to combine pasta with veggies and carbs. It reminds me pasta with potato, lard and wheese sauce I had in Napoli it was luscious :)

    1. Thanks so much FoodTrotter, I'm so glad you like this recipe. It's become a staple at our place.


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