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
- 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
- Slotted spoon/tongs
- Knife & chopping board
- Saucepan with lid
- 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.