Pasta alla Genovese

This is one of those recipes that doesn’t necessarily make total sense but from what I understand, this is a classic dish in Liguria (which is on the NW coast of Italy). It mixes potatoes with pasta and is definitely not for the “no/low carb” diet. But I am telling you, once you taste it, the dish makes total sense. And trust that the green beans will help you take comfort in the fact that you are eating your veggies. The combination of pesto, potatoes, pasta, and green beans creates a perfect symphony of flavors.

I have made this quite a few times and will continue to make it in the future. This is a recipe I found in Nigella Lawson’s Nigella Kitchen cookbook. Because of my preference for arugula pesto over basil pesto, I swapped out the basil in the original recipe for an arugula/spinach mix. I also tend to prefer whole wheat pastas, so I used that instead of the regular linguine she called for. And please remember to save your pasta water! I am so notorious for forgetting and it really does make a big difference when you use it. I generally add a little olive oil and freshly grated parmesan cheese on top of each serving bowl.

Pasta all Genovese with potatoes, green beans, and pesto
Adapted from Nigella Kitchen cookbook


1 pound large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch slices, each slice quartered into chunks
1 pound whole wheat linguine
7 oz green/French green beans, trimmed and cut in half

for pesto:
5 cups arugula/spinach mix, lightly packed
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 cup of olive oil (give or take)


Put the prepared potato chunks into a large pot with enough salted water to take the pasta later, and bring to a boil.

Cook the potatoes until tender (about 20 minutes) and then add the pasta. At about 4 minutes before the pasta is cooked, add the green beans. (at this point you have the potatoes, pasta, and green beans cooking in the same pot together)

While this is cooking, place the arugula/spinach mix, Parm, and garlic in a food processor and whiz away. Once processed, slowly add the olive oil until you get to a nice thin consistency. Taste and add salt/pepper as needed.

Before draining the pot of boiling potatoes, pasta, and green beans, reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta water. Put the drained potatoes, beans, and pasta back in the pot. Add the pesto and enough pasta water to give it a runny sauce and combine thoroughly. Take a final taste, and adjust salt/pepper seasonings as necessary.

Place in serving bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil and grated Parm.



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