Leftover Green Beans with Pasta and Pesto

Leftover Green Beans with Pasta and Pesto

I love green beans but they are a problematic veggie. We’re so used to having them week in and out when, really, they need a lot of warmth to grow. We don’t have a lot of warmth in the UK. So, if you’re going to be buying a packet of green beans that have been flown in from Kenya, then for fuck’s sake do not waste a single one.

This is a riff on a classic late-spring Italian recipe; green beans with pasta, potatoes and pesto. That’s it. It’s real cucina-di-povera. Yes it’s double carb but just, you know, don’t be greedy. If you can be bothered, cut the potatoes and beans so that they are a similar length to the pasta.

If you have an errant salad pack or bag of baby leaf spinach sitting in your fridge, then make your own pesto! Okay it’s not a stunning jar of authentic basil/pine nut/parmesan pesto but, remember the roots of pesto: people making the most of what they have around them every day.

A handful of green beans can be the inspiration behind tonight’s supper, and I hope you enjoy making sure there’s never a leftover, leftover.


Leftover Green Beans with Pasta and Pesto

Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Servings 4


  • leftover green beans
  • 200 grams short pasta, such as fusilli or penne you can use anything, it's just nice to have the food a similar size
  • 200 grams salad potatoes
  • few tablespoons pesto


  • Scales
  • Slotted spoon/tongs
  • Knife & chopping board
  • Saucepan with lid
  • Colander/sieve
  • Spoon
  • Mixing bowl


Optional: make the pesto using this recipe

  • Rinse the potatoes and place in the pan and cover with cold water. Add a teaspoon of salt. Cover with the lid and bring to the boil
  • If your potatoes are lots of different sizes, or you just need to cook very quickly, you can cut them into smaller pieces.
  • Whilst the potatoes are cooking, cut the green beans to a similar length to the pasta.
  • Check for 'done-ness' - depending on the size they'll be ready in anything between 20 and 30 minutes.
  • When they are soft, remove from the boiling water with a slotted spoon/tongs and place in the bowl. Do not drain the water. Stir pesto through the potatoes whilst warm.
  • Get the water boiling again and cook the pasta; check it 2 minutes before the packet suggests as sometimes they aren't quite accurate.
  • When the pasta is done, again remove with a slotted spoon and add to the pesto and potatoes.
  • Boil the beans in the potato pasta water. Remove when done, around 4 minutes.
  • Add more pesto if you wish (I like a lot) and serve.


  • This will keep in a lidded container, in your fridge, for up to 5 days, although it'll be better within a day or two of cooking.

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