River Cottage

Pasta with pesto and green beans recipe

Hugh cooked this traditional Ligurian pasta dish on River Cottage Veg

Serves 4


  • 500g new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 500g pasta, such as trofie, orecchiette or penne
  • 300g French or other green beans

For the pesto

  • 75g walnuts, lightly toasted
  • Large bunch of parsley (about 80g), leaves only
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 50g hard goat's cheese, finely grated
  • Finely grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 150ml extra virgin olive oil
  • A good squeeze of lemon juice
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. First make the pesto. Finely chop the nuts and place in a bowl, then finely chop the parsley leaves and add to the nuts. Place the garlic, goat's cheese and lemon zest and juice in the bowl and pour in the olive oil stirring as you go until you have a thick, sloppy purée. Taste and season to taste.

  2. Bring a very large pan of water to the boil and salt well. Meanwhile, cut the potatoes into thick matchsticks (the size of thin chips). Add the potatoes and pasta to the pan and cook until the pasta is al dente – probably 10-12 minutes, which should be the right amount of time for the potatoes too. If the pasta is a type that cooks very quickly, put the potatoes in a few minutes before. (If using very freshly dug new spuds, they’ll cook quicker, 6–7 minutes, so add halfway through the pasta cooking). In the meantime, cut the beans into lengths that roughly match the size of the pasta. Add them to the pan about 4 minutes before the end of cooking.

  3. Drain the pasta and vegetables, and let them steam off for a minute or two, then add the pesto and mix thoroughly but gently. Check the seasoning (it will probably benefit from a good grinding of black pepper).

  4. Divide between warmed serving bowls, scatter with extra cheese if you wish.

River Cottage Veg Every Day

Recipe from River Cottage Veg Every Day

Images © Simon Wheeler

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River Cottage

Last Broadcast: Saturday 19 January 3.40PM

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