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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pasta, Potatoes, Green Beans, and Pesto

A wood-fired pizza place opened up in one of the suburbs of Brussels soon after we moved away from the area to Germany. We lived only two hours away and often made the trip back to Belgium. Sometimes we stopped at this little cafe. The thin crust pizza was great here but I found I also relished a dish of pasta, potatoes, and pesto. When I saw this recipe which includes green beans (which nearly overwhelm me each summer) I knew I had to add it to my repertoire.


Pasta, Potatoes, Green Beans, and Pesto

Adapted from:
serves 6-10 

1/4 c pine nuts 
3 garlic cloves, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 pd large red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces 
salt and pepper
12 oz green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
7 T extra virgin olive oil
2 c fresh basil leaves
1 oz parmesan cheese, grated (1/2 c)
1 pd pasta (gemelli, penne, linguini)
2 T unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled
1 T fresh lemon juice

Toast pine nuts and garlic in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring frequently, until pine nuts are golden and fragrant and garlic darkens slightly, 3 to 5 minutes. Let cool. 

Bring 3 quarts water to boil in large pot. Add potatoes and 1 T salt and cook until potatoes are tender but still hold their shape, 9 to 12 minutes. Using slotted spoon or a spider skimmer, transfer potatoes to rimmed baking sheet. (Do not discard water.)

In the same pot cook the green beans until they are tender and using the slotted spoon (or spider), transfer them to the baking sheet with the potatoes.

Finally, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, stirring often, until al dente. While pasta is cooking make the pesto:  process basil, parmesan, oil, pine nuts, garlic, and ½ teaspoon salt in food processor until smooth, about 1 minute.

Just before draining, reserve a couple of cups of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add butter, lemon juice, pesto, 1¼ cups reserved cooking water, and ½ teaspoon pepper and stir vigorously with rubber spatula until sauce takes on creamy appearance. Stir in the potatoes and green beans. Add additional cooking water as needed to adjust consistency and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately passing more grated parmesan.


I've made a fairly large range in the serving amount estimation. I usually find that servings for pasta recipes are  quite large. Before you serve this for company, you may want to try it to find out how many servings it yields for your family.

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