I think I am finally nearing the end of all the basil in the garden so I just made another big batch of pesto.
My first job after college was working in the art department of Glamour magazine where there was a very cool young Italian woman named Gloria who worked in the fashion department -- she first introduced me to this traditional Italian pasta dish. Gloria used broccoli but you can use broccoli or green beans interchangeably so use whichever you prefer, or whatever looks best when you shop. I thought the idea of potatoes in pasta seemed quite odd at first, but it is really delicious. Our basil plants did amazingly well this year so we ate this often over the summer.
You only use need one pot to prepare this pasta...something I have always appreciated since I do not love doing dishes nearly as much as I love cooking. The photo above uses fresh pesto made from our garden, haricots vert from a farm stand and gemelli pasta. The photo below uses fusilli, and broccoli. Both times I happened to have fingerling potatoes so I used them, sliced into 1/2 inch thick rounds, but any potatoes will work cut into a half inch dice.
The amounts for this recipe are not precise so you will have to bear with me...
I used 1 pound of pasta, about 2 or 3 cups of diced potatoes, and either 1 head of broccoli, cut into small florettes, or a bag of green beans (the equivalent amount to replace 1 head of broccoli), and a generous cup of pesto. Either store bought or homemade pesto can be used. Bring a big hunk of parmesan to the table to grate over the finished pasta.
The exact timing of this dish is really dependent on exactly what kind of pasta you use. Basically over cooked potatoes will be ok, but undercooked ones are not. Al dente pasta is ideal. And the broccoli or green beans can be bright and crisp, or soft and tender...it is delicious either way. To achieve this I always cut my potatoes fairly small, and cook them for 3 or 4 minutes before I add the pasta. Then I check the pasta package for the recommended timing and add the green beans about 3 or 4 minutes before it is done. If you are using broccoli add it 4 or 5 minutes before the pasta is done. Drain the whole pot into a colander and shake off extra liquid. Return to a pot, add pesto, and toss to combine.