Think green with this Pasta with Pesto Potatoes and French Beans. It’s a classic dish from the Ligurian region, located in the northwest part of Italy along the coast. Since this area shares a border with France, you’ll see a lot of French influence on this simple but delicious dish! It’s a healthy dish that provides a lot of vitamins and minerals, along with a huge punch of flavor.
You’ll love the fresh basil flavor in the pesto and the way it mixes with extra virgin olive oil, Parmesan cheese, potatoes, and French beans. And since it takes less than 30 minutes to pull together, it’s a perfect quick-and-easy weeknight dinner! The leftovers make an excellent lunch option, too, so don’t be afraid to have more than you need.
Pesto Makes Everything Better
You might think combining potatoes and pasta is too much starch, but the pesto brings them together, making it all work in this elegant dish. It’s the perfect way to carbo-load while you’re training for your first marathon! But it’s not just about the carbs; this dish is full of beneficial vitamins and minerals, along with a boost of plant-based protein.
This dish is traditionally enjoyed in the summer, when the fresh green ingredients are at their maximum flavors. We love the hearty flavors and the filling nature of this Pasta with Pesto Potatoes and French Beans in the winter, too! If fresh basil isn’t available, look for a high-quality, store-made pesto in the refrigerated section.
If you’re making the pesto yourself from scratch, you could go the traditional route and pound the basil leaves with a mortar and pestle. Or, use the immersion blender to bring it together faster. One thing you should keep in mind before blending the pesto is the basil leaves. If you blanch them first, you don’t have to worry about a pesto that becomes brownish because of oxidation. The best way to treat the problem is to blanch the basil first and so you will have a vibrant, green pesto.
You can also transform this recipe into a vegan, plant-based recipe by using our oil-free pesto recipe. We make it with dairy-free Parmesan cheese made from cashews. It tastes just as savory as the real deal, but it only boasts 23 calories per quarter cup!
Serving Pasta with Pesto Potatoes and French Beans
You could serve this pasta dish right away when it’s piping hot. It makes a great side dish for dinner (or a nice stand-alone for lunch). Feel free to dish it up at room temperature, too, because the flavors are strong enough. We love serving it this way in the peak of summer when it’s too hot to heat up the kitchen!
Being a regional dish, the best wine to pair this with is the local white wine of Liguria. You’ll find it under the name Pigato, but it’s also commonly known as Vermentino or Favorita (especially when they are produced in Piedmont). This wine is fresh, with a lot of fruit and flower aromatics. It’s a perfect match!
Yield: 6 serving | Serving Size: about 1 cup | Calories: 398 | Total Fat: 6 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Carbohydrates: 73 g | Sugar: 4 g | Protein: 13 g | Cholesterol: 1 mg | Sodium: 452 mg | SmartPoints (Freestyle): 11
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 pound potatoes, peeled and diced
- 6 ounces French beans, trimmed and sliced to 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1/3 cup basil pesto
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil with 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add the potatoes for about 8 minutes. After the 8 minutes, add the French beans and pasta. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the pasta is tender.
- Once cooked, drain and stir in the Pesto.