Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans

A northern Italy dish that features more than pasta
35 minutes Total Time
15 minutes to prep
20 minutes to cook
4 servings
The first time I made this dish was from an Everyday Food recipe. I had pesto before that but not with potatoes and green beans. I had rarely eaten green beans before, remembering the canned versions from my childhood. This recipe made me a green bean lover, and it is now one of my favorite vegetables. My other favorite magazine Cook's Illustrated printed a more complicated version of this recipe in 2013. It was a bit better, but more work. I ended up creating my version, which tries to keep it easy and delicious. It is a favorite that I make at least a few times every summer.
It is important to prep all the ingredients before you start cooking this dish. The timing is quick and you need to add things in the proper order to make sure everything cooks through and other ingredients don't get overcooked. To determine how much time to cook pasta and potatoes before adding green beans, subtract 6 minutes from the recommended time on the box. The potatoes start cooking while the water is coming to a boil, but after boiling, I like to cook the potatoes 13 minutes, so I wait to add the pasta just a bit.


Ingredients with an * are listed more than once.


  • Gather and prep ingredients.
    Step 0
  • Add red potatoes and 3 quarts of water to a large pan. Bring water to a boil over high heat.
    Step 1
  • While water is coming to a boil, add pine nuts, basil, salt, olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese to the food processor. Process all ingredients for about 1 minutes until everything is chopped finely.
    Step 2
  • When the water is boiling, cook the potatoes for 1 minute. Add the pasta and salt to water. Cook for 6 minutes. If using a pasta that takes more or less than 12 minutes to cook, adjust the time.
    Step 3
  • Add the green beans to the pasta and potatoes. Stir to combine. Cook for about 6 minutes, until the pasta, potatoes, and green beans are all tender.
    Step 4
  • Before draining the pasta and vegetables, save some of the cooking water by dipping a large measuring cup in to the water.
    Step 5
  • Drain the pasta and vegetables in a colander. Return the pasta and vegetables back in to the pan.
    Step 6
  • Add the butter and the pesto from the food processor bowl. Add a splash of the pasta water and stir to combine. If you need to stretch the sauce more, you can add more pasta water.
    Step 7
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese if desired. Leftovers can be saved and served cold or at room temperature. Thin them with a bit more olive oil or water if needed.
    Step 8

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