Pesto Pasta with Green Beans and Potatoes

Pesto is full of bright herbaceous flavors and has so many fabulous applications! Here I used it on one of my all time favorite foods - pasta!

This recipe is for the classic Genovese method of serving pasta – with potatoes and green beans.  If you find yourself asking “why potatoes and green beans?” … just don’t question it. This combination is classic for a reason! Those Italians don’t mess around when it comes to plates of luscious creamy pesto!

But really there is a surprising amount of debate out there on why this combination works so well, but most of the consensus is that since the pesto is never cooked, the extra starch from the potatoes helps to absorb some of the oil from the pesto creating a thicker creamier sauce experience. I haven’t yet been able to nail down a reason for the green beans except that they are delicious and add a lighter vegetable element to a dish that would otherwise be nothing but carbs.  Either way don’t fight it – this is the pesto preparation that works!

Classic Pesto Pasta with Potatoes and Green Beans

Course Main Course
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 cups fresh basil packed
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts
  • 4 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan reggiano cheese plus extra for serving
  • 1 lb long pasta (linguine, spaghetti, bucatini)
  • 6 oz small yukon gold potatoes
  • 4 oz fresh green beans


  1. In the bowl of a food processor mix the basil, garlic, lemon zest, walnuts, and salt. Pulse until mixture is well combined and a coarse paste is formed. 

  2. Turn the food processor to low and slowly drizzle in olive oil. Add cheese, pulse until just combined.

  3. Taste and adjust as necessary. You may wish to add additional seasoning, or additional oil if the pesto is too dry. 

  4. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. 

  5. Quarter the potatoes, and trim and halve the green beans. 

  6. Add the potatoes to the boiling water and cook about 5 minutes. You want the potatoes to be beginning to soften, but not be fully cooked. Add the green beans to the pot and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes, again you want the green beans to just begin to soften.  

  7. Add the pasta to the pot with the potatoes and green beans and cook until aldente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water. 

  8. In a large bowl toss the warm pasta mixture with the fresh pesto.  Working a few tablespoons at a time, add the warm pasta water until the pesto has emulsified into a creamy sauce and has evenly coated the pasta. 

  9. Serve warm with additional grated cheese! Enjoy! 

Recipe Notes

Make this recipe cannabis infused:

  • This recipe calls for about 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (or 8 tablespoons).  Simply replace some of this oil with your desired amount of cannabis infused olive oil. 
  • Of course I recommend you use my High Class Olive Oil, but other infused oils will also do the trick! This recipe serves 4.  For a serving of  10 mg of THC and 2 mg of CBD per person, you would use 2 tablespoons of High Class Olive Oil and 6 tablespoons un-infused extra virgin olive oil.
  • To determine how much cannabis infused you should use, check out this article on dose and potency.
  • As a bonus - if you happen to have access to fresh cannabis leaves you can try replacing 1/2 cup of basil leaves with fresh cannabis leaves!