Pesto Pasta (or Nigella’s Pasta alla Genovese)

By Monday, December 13, 2010

Ok, so I’m thinking I need to get all my blogging out of the way before I take off for Halifax for the holidays, so I’m on a bit of a rampage today. Bear with me!

Pesto Pasta

This recipe actually has a complicated and fancy name, which I hate, so I have renamed it. It’s supposed to be called Pasta alla Genovese, but I just like calling it Pesto Pasta. This recipe includes a fantastic homemade pesto, and I normally dislike pesto!

Pesto Pasta (or Nigella’s Pasta alla Genovese)


  • 500g large floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 1.5cm slices, each slice quartered into chunks
  • 500g linguine pasta
  • 200g fine green beans, trimmed and cut in half
  • For the pesto:
  • 100g basil leaves (2 fat bunches from the greengrocer, or 4 supermarket packets)
  • 100g grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled
  • 100ml regular olive oil
  • 100ml extra virgin olive oil


  1. Put the prepared potato chunks into a large saucepan with enough salted water to take the pasta later, and bring to the boil. Cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes, then add the pasta. Check the packet cooking instructions, and at about 4 minutes before the end of the specified cooking time, add the green beans. If you are using artisanal egg linguine, which takes less time, you will need to alter your strategy. While this is bubbling away, whiz the ingredients for the pesto in a food processor. Before you drain the saucepan, remove and reserve about ½ cupful of the cooking liquid. Tip the drained potatoes, beans and pasta back into the dry pan. Add the pesto from the processor and enough cooking water to give a runny sauce that coats the strands of pasta as you work it through with a fork or pasta claw. Serve immediately.
  2. Adapted from Nigella Lawson

Definitely make the pesto from scratch. It is so worth it. Also definitely use fresh parmesan or you’ll regret it. This recipe is delicious and is some of Nigella’s best work. And healthy? This literally couldn’t get more healthy. I always use wholewheat pasta, which makes it even more healthy than it already is.

My Roomie even made this one, and she liked it. Pasta is my comfort food, for sure, so having this sorts of recipes as a go-to is essential. And My Other Half loved it too! The only thing I’d add is some pepper. And make sure not to overcook the potatoes or you’ll get a mush!

Homemade pesto… amazing!

Smashed Corelle bowl and green beans

Funniest part about this recipe? Obviously another disaster. Corelle plates are not supposed to break, right? That’s what I thought too! But when I was chopping my beans for the pasta, it slipped and smashed! Into a billion shreds! Obviously. Good thing I had back-up beans!


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