Pasta with Potatoes, Green Beans and Pesto / Pasta ligure con patate, fagiolini e pesto

Trofie Pasta with Potatoes, Green Beans and Pesto / Pasta ligure con patate, fagiolini e pesto

'Pesto is one of the best expressions of Italian regional cuisine. Ligurians are very proud of their pesto. Trofie is a common Ligurian pasta shape but any other Ligurian pasta will work, for example linguine and trenette work just as well.'' Liguria can be found on the Italian Riviera, along the northwestern coast of Italy.' Giordano Wines

Credit: Adapted from a recipe in the book “The Pleasures of Italian Food” by Giordano Wines, Italy.


  • 350 g Italian trofie, linguine or trenette pasta (dry or fresh pasta will do but fresh is preferred)
  • 200 g green beans, ends trimmed and each one cut into three pieces
  • 6 small new potatoes, washed and cut into bite sized pieces leaving the skins on
  • Freshly ground sea salt
  • FOR THE PESTO: To save time you could use a 120 g jar of Italian pesto sauce.
  • 50 g fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • 1 level tbsp pine nuts
  • 25 g freshly grated Pecorino cheese
  • 6 tbsp of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Freshly ground coarse salt


  1. Method: To speed things up whizz the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor.
  2. Detach the basil leaves from the stems. Wash them and lay on paper towels to dry. Peel the garlic and place it into a marble mortar with a few grains of coarse salt. Start pounding with the pestle.
  3. Once the garlic is reduced to a pulp, add the pine nuts and continue to pound. Next, add the basil leaves and crush them without pounding by rotating the pestle against the walls of the mortar.
  4. Without stopping, add the cheese, and then drizzle in about half of the extra virgin olive oil. Transfer the pesto into a bowl and add the rest of the oil a little at a time while stirring with a wooden spoon.
  5. Bring salted water to a boil in a large stockpot, drop in the vegetables and bring back to the boil without the lid. Turn down the heat and cook until soft. Take the pan off the heat and leave the vegetables in the water until you need them.
  6. In a large saucepan bring 3 litres of water to the boil without the lid, add salt, then put in the chosen pasta, stir gently and cook for about 10 minutes or according to the packet instructions.
  7. While the pasta is cooking, put the vegetables into a tureen and mix in 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil.
  8. Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving about 6 tablespoons of the liquid in the pan. Transfer the pasta to the tureen, add the pesto sauce, diluting if necessary with the cooking liquid to loosen the sauce, and mix thoroughly.
  9. Serve straight away into warmed dishes, and top with medium grated Pecorino cheese.
  10. Serving option: A good accompaniment would be some mixed salad leaves sprinkled with a little extra virgin olive oil and some freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Cooked, reviewed and photographed by Joan and Ian (Worcestershire, UK)

Liguria can be found on the Italian Riviera, along the northwestern coast of Italy. The climate in this mountainous region is mild, perfect for growing vegetables, olives and grapes. Ligurian cooking is known for the simple flavours of fresh produce, especially Pesto alla Genovese. Dry and fresh pasta are both eaten in Ligurian cuisine.

Cooked, reviewed and photographed by Joan and Ian and here is their review:


“Well John, apologies for the length of time it has taken us to come back to you but we are now emerging from what has been a rather busy summer. So yesterday we thought it would be a nice idea to try out one of your recipes. And here are the results! :


The ingredients. You can see that we used fresh pasta and made our own pesto ( we did not follow your suggestion of the lazy option of purchasing a jar of pesto sauce. The very idea!). We used linguine pasta for the only reason that we could not find, either fresh or dried, trofie or trenette despite visits to three supermarkets.

Following your method the cooking was quite straightforward, we did use a food processor for the pesto. And the result:

We both enjoyed the meal, Joan though found more infusions of flavour in it than I did. This could be because my sense of taste and smell have become more blunted over the years.
Joan says it was both subtle and succulent and she liked the texture of the pasta. Probably this was due to the expertise of the principal chef (me!).


But then we had to wash up..

We will add it to our store of recipes and definitely have it again. We will turn our attention to Caponata – sweet pepper and aubergine stew in due course.

Thanks for the Italian gourmet experience John.
Best regards
Ian and Joan”

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