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

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

Trofie is a common Ligurian pasta shape but any other Ligurian pasta will work, for example linguine and trenette work just as well. “This traditional way of enjoying pasta together with pesto, potatoes and beans is typical of the city of Genoa.” Valentina Harris

Credit: Adapted from the book “The Pleasures of Italian Cooking” by Giordano Wines, Italy.


  • 350 g trofie, linguine or trenette pasta
  • 200 g green beans 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 salt
  • FOR THE PESTO: To save time you could use a 190 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 sea salt


    To speed things up whizz the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Without stopping, add the cheese, and then drizzle in about half of the 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.
  4. 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 fork tender (about 10 minutes). Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the potato and green beans and put them into a tureen and mix in 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Cover and set aside.
  5. Bring a large pan of water to the boil without the lid, add salt, then put in the chosen pasta, stir gently and cook for 10 minutes or according to the packet instructions (fresh pasta takes less time to cook than dried pasta).
  6. Meanwhile, place the pesto in a large bowl and add 2 tbsp of cooking water to loosen the sauce. Stir and mix well.
  7. Drain the pasta in a colander, reserving ½ cup of the liquid in the pan. Transfer to the tureen and using a wooden spoon stir and mix with the vegetables. Tip the pesto sauce into the pasta and vegetables and gently mix thoroughly with 2 forks. Use a little of the cooking water to loosen the sauce, if necessary. Check the seasoning again, then serve.
  8. Serve straight away into warmed dishes, and top with medium grated Pecorino cheese. A good accompaniment would be some salad leaves sprinkled with a little extra virgin olive oil and some freshly squeezed lemon juice.

Ligurian linguine pasta with potatoes, green beans and pesto served on a plate.

The photograph of this menu board was taken in San Remo, Liguria, Italy on 9/06/2017. The board stood outside a trattoria in one of the main streets and notice the first item is Trofie al Pesto costing €7.00.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a website or blog at
%d bloggers like this: