Spaghetti with Walnut Pesto, Green Beans and Potatoes

I first tasted this delicious healthy green dish in Sardinia but have since found out that it originates from Liguria.  I have adapted it, omitting the cheese and using less oil.  Traditionally trofie pasta is used but this is harder to get and I prefer to use wholewheat or spelt spaghetti anyway


Ingredients for two

a bunch of basil, about 50g (one and 3/4 ounces), include the stalks in the pesto

90g (3 ounces) of walnuts

2 cloves of garlic, minced

the juice of half a large lemon

150ml (5 and a 1/4 fluid ounces) of olive oil, and a drizzle more to serve

a teaspoon of coarse salt

a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

200g (7 ounces) of fine green beans (French beans) trimmed

300g (10 and 1/2 ounces) of potatoes, scrubbed and cubed into 1 inch (2 and a 1/2cm) pieces

200g (7 ounces) of wholewheat spaghetti

salad leaves to serve


Soak the walnuts in just enough boiling water to cover them (about 150ml). This makes them easier to blend and means adding less oil later.

Allow the mixture to cool

Put on a large pan of salted water to boil (or use the kettle)

Add the potatoes to the boiling water, boil for about 5 minutes before adding the spaghetti, cook the spaghetti for 9 minutes adding the green beans for the last four (So the total cooking time is 14 minutes for the potatoes, 9 minutes for the spaghetti and 4 minutes for the green beans)

Add the garlic, the basil, the olive oil and some salt and pepper to the walnuts and their soaking liquid, blend or grind in a pestle and mortar

Drain the pasta, potatoes and beans reserving some of the cooking liquid, add the pesto and some of the liquid and use tongs to ensure its thoroughly coated

Serve with the salad leaves, a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil and more pepper.  Buon appetito!

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