Pasta with potato, beans and pesto

This is a traditional Ligurian dish that is usually made with potatoes, green beans and baby broad beans. Here, broccoli and zucchini boost the green vegetable content. The pesto used to dress the pasta and vegetables is lighter than most, but still packs a flavoursome punch.

Pasta with potato, beans and pesto


  • 600 g small new potatoes, halved or quartered
  • 250 g broccoli, cut into small florets
  • ½ cup (90 g) shelled broad beans, peeled if preferred, 350–400 g in pods
  • 175 g fine green beans, topped and tailed
  • 2 zucchini, cut into bite–sized chunks
  • 300 g tubular or hollow pasta shapes, such as casarecce (slim rolled lengths), gemelli (narrow spirals), orecchiette (little ears) or gnocchi (fluted shells)
  • sprigs of fresh basil to garnish
  • Tomato pesto
  • 4–5 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 100 g fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup (50 g) freshly grated parmesan
  • 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • salt


  1. Cook the potatoes in boiling water for about 15 minutes or until they are tender, but not soft.
  2. Add the broccoli, broad beans, green beans and zucchini, and simmer all together for a further 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
  4. Make the pesto while the vegetables and pasta are cooking.
  5. Pound the garlic with a pinch of salt and the pine nuts in a mortar using a pestle.
  6. Add the basil and continue pounding until the ingredients form a green paste, then work in the parmesan and oil.
  7. Finally, work in the tomatoes.
  8. Alternatively, the pesto can be made in a food processor or blender: put all the ingredients, except the oil, in the container and whiz to a paste, then gradually add the oil through the feed tube with the motor running.
  9. Drain the pasta and vegetables and toss both together.
  10. Top with the pesto, garnish with sprigs of basil, scattering them over the top, and serve immediately.

Serves 4
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: about 20 minutes


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