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This recipe was a staple throughout my childhood, and I still enjoy this comforting dish as much today.  A typical dish from the Italian Riviera, your bubba might recognise it from the latest Disney film Luca. The traditional recipe includes potatoes and green beans but there is absolutely nothing stopping you from adding more vegetables. I love pasta pesto with zucchini and cherry tomatoes or adding some peas into the mix. Once lathered in pesto, your bubba won’t even notice that they’re there. Traditionally a slow process using a pestle and mortar, I’m going to show you how to make an authentic Ligurian pesto in under five minutes and with little hassle. Once you try it you won’t go back to the shop bought jars. 

For the pasta: 

1 Potato peeled

100g Green beans

Pasta of choice- I would recommend a spaghetti or linguini 

For the pesto:

50g Basil leaves 

25g Pine nuts 

1 Small garlic clove

30g Grated parmesan (for a vegan alternative use 25g cashew nuts) 

4 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil 

2-3tbsp Cold water 

  1. Prepare your vegetables by cutting your potato into thin rounds, then halve. Cut your beans into thirds. 

  2. Add your potato chunks to a pot of boiling water. About five minutes later add the pasta and then when there are five minutes left add your beans. The potatoes and beans should be over cooked but not completely mushy. Drain, saving some pasta water. 

  3. To make the pesto, add the nuts and basil into a food processor. Blitz to a grainy mixture. Then add the cheese and olive oil. Blitz again. Finally, add the cold water a tablespoon at a time until the pesto is a light green colour and not grainy in consistency. 

  4. Over a gentle heat, lather the pesto onto the pasta and vegetables using some pasta water to help the sauce bind to the pasta. Then serve.  

  5. When storing cover with a generous amount of olive oil to preserve the pesto. Place in the fridge or freezer. 

Recipe by Francesca Byrne


You can follow Francesca’s recipes on TikTok @cucina_cesca

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