Recipes Main Courses Pasta Rice and Grains Cavatappi with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans

Cavatappi with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6

This striking dish is equally tasty warm or cold, making it a great choice for either a weeknight vegetarian meal or a weekend picnic dish. Be sure to add the sauce to the potatoes and pasta while they are still warm so that they will absorb more sauce and flavor.


For the pesto:

  • 2 cups (2 oz./60 g) packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g) pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz./60 g) grated Parmesan cheese

  • 3/4 lb. (375 g) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and very finely diced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 lb. (125 g) slender green beans or haricots verts, trimmed
  • 3/4 lb. (375 g) cavatappi or small tubular pasta
  • 2 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil for drizzling


To the make the pesto, in a food processor or blender, combine the basil, garlic and pine nuts. Pulse until the ingredients are uniformly minced, scraping down the sides of the bowl or jar as needed.

With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth and well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the cheese. Cover and set aside.

Put the potatoes in a large saucepan and add cold water to cover by 2 inches (5 cm). Place over high heat, add 2 tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until the potatoes are fork-tender, about 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the potatoes to a large bowl.

Let the water return to a boil. Add the green beans and cook until just tender, about 2 minutes. Drain and add to the bowl with the potatoes.

Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the cavatappi and cook according to the package directions. Drain well and add to the bowl with the vegetables. Add the pesto and stir to combine. Stir in the Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Pasta Night, by Kate McMillan (Weldon Owen, 2014)