Basil Pesto with Potatoes, Green Beans, and Linguini

Basil Pesto with Potatoes, Green Beans and Linguini


½ lb. small new potatoes, sliced into 1/4 slices

2 handfuls of haricot verts, stem ends snapped off

8 ounces of linguini (or whatever pasta you like)

2 ounces of parmigiano reggiano cheese

1 garlic clove

1/2 cup pine nuts (or almonds)

2 cups packed fresh basil

1/4 cup olive oil

sea salt to taste

freshly ground black pepper 

You only need one large pot to cook everything in!

Fill a large pot with water and the potatoes and add about 2 tablespoons kosher or sea salt. You want the water to be nicely salted to not only flavor the pasta, but to maintain the shape of the potatoes and the greenness of the beans.   Bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes until they are just done, about 13 - 15 minutes.  Take a slice out and poke it with a sharp knife to test.  If it easily pierces it, they are done.  Remove the potatoes with a strainer or spider and place in a large serving bowl.  Do not dump out your water. 

To the same pot and water, add the green beans and cook until they are just done, about 7-8 minutes.  Make sure they are done all the way, with no hint of a raw flavor.  Remove with the spider and add the beans to the potatoes in your serving dish.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook the linguini until just al dente - about 8 minutes.  Test for doneness. Remove with a pair of tongs and add to your serving dish.  A little bit of pasta water on the linguini is fine - this will help make a "sauce" of the pesto.

While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto.  Place the cheese and the garlic in a food processor and process until fine.  Add the basil and pine nuts and process. Start adding the olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto is all thoroughly processed.  You may have to use a spatula to scrape it down.  Taste the pesto and add a little sea salt if you like.

Add the pesto and a few grinds of black pepper to the serving bowl ingredients and toss well.  Add a tablespoon or two of the hot pasta water if you need help in blending the pesto.   Serve at room temperature.  

Leftovers the next day are great. 

Haricot Verts with French Shallots and Bacon

Haricot Verts with French Shallots and Bacon

Serves two-four

~ ½ lb haricot verts, tops chopped off

2 slices bacon (Llano seco is nice)

2 shallots, chopped finely

1 handful almonds, toasted and sliced

2 Tb butter



Cook bacon in a skillet on a medium-low flame until browned. Remove bacon to a plate and add butter and shallots to pan. Lower the flame slightly. Stir frequently. Next, add in haricot verts. Continue stirring frequently. Cook for about 8 minutes, or until tender. While cooking, toast almonds in a separate pan. Chop bacon finely. Slice almonds when cooled. Add both the almonds and bacon back into the pan. Stir them in and serve.


Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad

Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
From Deb Perelman’s, who adapted it from “Chez Panisse Vegetables”

Serves 6

1 pound green beans, though if you can find a mix of green and yellow beans, it will be all the prettier
1 pound cherry tomatoes
1 large shallot
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Basil or other herb (optional)

Prepare the vegetables: Top and tail the beans and cut them into large segments. Parboil the beans in salted water until just tender, about four to five minutes. Drain and immediately spread them out to cool. Stem the cherry tomatoes and cut them in half.

Make the vinaigrette: Peel and mince the shallot and put it in a bowl with the vinegar and salt and pepper. Whisk in the olive oil. Taste and adjust the balance with more vinegar, oil, or salt, as needed. Toss the cherry tomatoes in with the vinaigrette; this can sit for a while. Do not add the green beans until just before serving or they will discolor from the acid in the vinaigrette. For variety, the salad can be garnished with basil or some other fresh herb such as parsley, chervil or hyssop.

Do ahead: Beans and vegetables can be prepared ahead of time. Simply toss with the dressing only at the last minute, as it can discolor the green beans after several hours.