Go Green… with this Traditional Ligurian Pesto Pasta Recipe


It doesn’t get much fresher than this basil and bean-touting pesto pasta recipe. Coming at you direct from Liguria in the North-West of Italy, this basil beast is crunchy-to-munch and truly aromatic.

This pesto pasta recipe takes the pesto sauce ingredients of basil, pine nut and a touch of garlic, and combines this ever so crunchy covering with trofie or linguine pasta.


It then fills in any hunger gaps by adding soft potato chunks and super-crunchy green beans.

Mmm… this one makes my mouth water just writing about it.

Serves 2 (or 4 if using this dish as an Italian style pasta starter)

Ingredients: (For a printable PDF shopping list click here, or right-click this link and choose ‘Save target/link as’ to save the list for later.)

200g/7oz of trofie or linguine pasta

50g/1.8oz fresh basil leaves

1 small clove of garlic

2 small potatoes (25g/0.9oz)

100g/3.5oz green beans

1 tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon of pine seeds


Extra virgin olive oil


Mixing bowl

Large pan/skillet

Small pan/skillet

Handheld electric mixer or marble pestle and mortar.


Potato peeler


STEP 1 – As ever, preparation first.

– Peel the potatoes and chop them into small 1cm cubes.

– Wash the beans and chop off their ends.

– Chop off the ends of the garlic clove, peel it, and chop it as finely as you can.

– Remove the basil stalks, then wash and tear the leaves.

– Grate the parmesan cheese.

STEP 2 – Boil up two pans of water on the hob (one small pan, one big).

– Dissolve a teaspoon of salt into the small pan, and a handful of salt in the large. Set the large pan to simmer.

– Now throw the potato chunks into the small pan.

– After 5 minutes of these boiling away, set your timer for another 5 minutes and add the green beans (these take just 5 minutes to the potatoes’ 10).

STEP 3 – Now let’s learn how to make pesto!~

How you handle the ingredients here depends on whether you are mixing them with an electric mixer , or manually with pestle and mortar …

If using a blender/mixer: throw the pine nuts, garlic, basil leaves, parmesan and a small glug of olive oil (2 tablespoons worth) into the blender and whiz it all for no more than 30 seconds – Italian pesto shouldn’t be super-smooth.

pesto pestle and mortar

If using a pestle & mortar: pop in the garlic and the pine seeds, then add a handful of the basil leaves and work into a rough paste. Keep gradually adding basil leaves and when necessary add a tablespoon of olive oil (you shouldn’t need more than three in total to keep things moist enough). Add the parmesan towards the end of this calorie-burning pestle session.

Note: remember to take the pan of vegetables off the heat if their time is up. The potatoes should be soft all the way through, the beans crunchy.

STEP 4 – Turn up the big pan of water and fling in your pasta (check its cooking time on the packet).

– While it cooks, spread pesto around your mixing bowl.

– When ready, drain the potatoes and beans, and add these to the mixing bowl.

STEP 5 – When the pasta is ready, drain this and pop it in the mixing bowl. Also add in there two tablespoons of the ‘starchy’ pasta water.

– Stir gently but thoroughly, so that all the ingredients are mixed and green.


Sit down, grab a glass of something delightful, and get busy enjoying this gloriously green and crunchy munch. If you have any thoughts on this pesto pasta recipe, please do let me know.