About Beth

Beth, along with her husband, Mike, is co-owner of two Italian Deli/Markets in St. Louis - Viviano’s Festa Italiano. When not creating yummy new menu items for the deli, she’s the pediatric research lab supervisor at Washington University School of Medicine. Read more out about Viviano’s Festa Italiano.

About Irene

Irene loves to think, read and dream about food. She enjoys cooking & eating in general. Although she demures about her talents, Irene has a finely-tuned palate that her friends envy. She bakes on occasion. The rest of the time she's creating memories with her family and friends. . . or she's learning a new needlecraft technique.

About Deborah

Deborah is a wife, mother, grandmother, traveler, bootlegger, and a very poor speller! As Victor Hazan so eloquently puts it, Deborah has chosen Umbria to be the home of her soul. When she can’t be there in body, she spends her free time cooking & reading about Italy. She blogs mostly about food and about trips – past and future – here: Old Shoes New Trip.

About Doug

Doug lives in Eastern Ontario in a farmhouse built in 1903. He is a retired teacher with four adult children, a wife, a son-in-law, two Irish step-grandchildren and one grandson who he is lucky to hang with a lot. He has way too many books. Doug also blogs at To Slow Time Down.

About Cindy

Cindy lives in Eagle River, Alaska where her freezer is always full of salmon, halibut & shrimp. Cindy participates in several regular cooking challenges. You can read more about her cooking and life in the last frontier on her blog, Baked Alaska.

About Sandi

Sandi is a true Southerner, but a traveler & Italian cook at heart. She lives in Alabama and knows more about fried green tomatoes than fricassees. Her family owned the WhistleStop Café for many years. Sandi also blogs at Whistlestop Cafe Cooking.

About Jan

Jan, a serious home cook, has owned “Essentials” since 1992. She is passionate about all things Italian, especially the cuisine & the language. Jan blogs about her travels (next trip Italy May/June of 2010) at: Keep your Feet in the Street.

About Jerry

Jerry is a food obsessed Canadian. He learned to love Italian food as a child while eating the meals prepared by his Napolitano uncle. He learned to cook Italian foods by watching his uncle cook these feasts for the family. This love of Italian food has been honed through serious personal experimentation in eating and cooking. Willing to try most anything once, Jerry isn't so sure about tripe! Jerry also blogs at Jerry's Thoughts, Musings, and Rants!

About Palma

Palma is a Marriage & Family Therapist in Palm Desert, CA. She’s an Italian-American with a passion for cooking, entertaining, & travel to Italy. She’s always planning her next culinary adventure to Italia on her blog, Palmabella's Passions

About Kim

Kim is our permanent sub and the image above gives you a good idea of the look on her face when she realized she was drafted. Kim loves to eat, drink, travel and cook - probably in that order. When she's not here, you can find her organizing and leading food, wine and beer tours in Europe as co-owner and operator of GrapeHops or blogging at What I Really Think.

« Pesto~ by the motar method | Main | Pesto with Ricotta »

Pasta and Pesto with Potatoes and Green Beans


I'm cooking ahead here - because I am in Rome baby! Forgive me while I get a tad excited . . .

Anyway. Back on track (for now).

A few weeks ago Paul made a recipe by Jamie Oliver that combined pesto, broccoli, and potatoes. in the introduction he wrote 'before you decide that I'm barmy for putting potato shavings into a pasta dish, I should explain that it's actually very authentic'. I am afraid I owe poor Jamie an apology for I was convinced he was telling a lie! What would a guy from England know about the way real Italians cook pasta?

Along comes Marcella.

In the introduction to her recipe she writes:

When serving pesto on spaghetti or noodles, the full Genoese treatment calls for the addition of boiled potatoes and green beans. When all of its components are right, there is no single dish more delicious in the entire Italian pasta repertory!

So yes, Jamie was right. Having said that, Marcella gets full points for the lovely poetic way she describes the dish.

Her pasta was a whole lot better as well.

shhhh. Don't tell Jamie, he is so overwrought at trying to change the way American's eat that he may spring a leak.

This was easy to prepare - I had pesto left over in the fridge from when I made the lasagne with ricotta pesto, all I needed to do was boil some potatoes, slice them, cook the beans, cook the fresh spaghetti and mix it all together. I had dinner ont he table in less than 30 minutes.

WOW - this was amazingly fresh tasting . . . yet another example of how simply ingredients, when used properly, result in a dish that is beguiling. You'd think that you had slaved in the kitchen for hours. Take my advice - don't tell anyone that you didn't - just be sure to quietly thank Marcella as you accept all of the compliments.

Comments (3)

Beautiful photo. I must say I have looked at that dish in the book and thought who the hell would want to eat potato with pasta (especially these days). But that looks alluring......

Marcella Hazan:

I don't know who Jamie Oliver is, but putting broccoli in a pasta with pesto is an olfactory lapse. Broccoli is related to cabbage - when you pour it out, have you ever noticed the smell of the water in which you have boiled broccoli - whereas sweetly scented basil comes from the mint family. It is one of the missteps that trip one up when doing something different for the sake of being different. There is nothing wrong in touching up old recipes, I have done it often myself, but you have to proceed with a very keen sense of the congruous.

A beautiful dish Palma and Jerry! I like to cut my green beans somewhat shorter and, since writing that recipes some decades ago, I began to toss the beans and potatoes with a little of the pesto before adding them to the pasta. I found it led to better integration of the flavors.


This is the same recipe that was taught to me by a Genovese woman - I didn't think I would ever like pesto before I tried this now it's one of my favorite things to make and eat.

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 12, 2010 8:00 AM.

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