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. 

Zucchini Ribbons with Almond Pesto

Zucchini Ribbons with Almond Pesto

from Deb Perelman’s, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

This recipe is made for zucchini, but any mix of summer squash can be substituted.

1/2 cup almonds, toasted and cooled

1/4 cup (3/4 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese

1 small garlic clove, peeled and crushed

Pinch of red pepper flakes

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup olive oil

2 pounds medium zucchini, trimmed

Grind almonds, Parmesan, garlic and red pepper flakes in a food processor until they are finely chopped. Add the lemon juice, salt and olive oil and pulse a few times until incorporated. Pour the dressing into a large salad bowl and let it roll up and around the sides.

Using a vegetable peeler (a Y-peeler or mandolin works great if you have one here, but any old peeler will do) and working from the top to bottom of each zucchini, slice the zucchini into ribbons (about 1/16-inch thick). Place the ribbons in dressing-coated bowl.

Toss the ribbons gently—frankly your hands are best for this as they wont break up the ribbons while tossing them—attempting to coat the zucchini as evenly as possible with the dressing. Serve at room temperature. This can sit out for a while (the longer it does, the more relaxed the ribbons will be) but I like to eat it right away, when the ribbons still make tall loops and twists in thee bowl.


Pesto Genovese

Pesto Genovese

This is the basil paste from Genova that most of us think of when we hear the word pesto. It’s good with pasta, potatoes, on paninis, in minestrone, on chicken, and salmon.

1 large bunch basil, thicker stems removed

4 cloves garlic

¼ c pine nuts (walnuts or almonds can be substituted)

½ c olive oil

2 oz. parmigiano-reggiano and/or pecorino, grated

In a food processor or mortar and pestle, grind nuts and garlic to a paste. If using a food processor add basil and blend while slowly adding olive oil; if a mortar and pestle is used, add some rock salt and grind until pureed, than add oil. Blend in cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.



Garlic Scape Pesto

Garlic Scape Pesto


Use as a dip with toasted bread or toss with pasta and a few vegetables or prosciutto.

Makes 1 cup of pesto.

9-10 garlic scapes
¼ c almonds
3/8  c (1/4 c with a splash) extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup grated [Pecorino Romano]
Salt and Pepper to taste

Preparing the scapes - Rinse scapes in cold water, then roughly chop into half-inch pieces.

Processing — Pour scapes and…almonds into the bowl of your food processor. Blend for 30 seconds, or until a fairly smooth texture is achieved. Scrape down sides of bowl with your [favored flat object].

With the machine running, slowly add olive oil, and process until thoroughly incorporated, about 15 seconds. Then add the [Romano] cheese…and pepper, and blend for another 5 seconds. Taste carefully — you might like to add more salt and pepper.

Although this pesto is good freshly made, it is even better when refrigerated for several hours or overnight. Before chilling, place the pesto in a glass bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.