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Pasta with Green Beans, Potatoes and Pesto

Pesto is perhaps the worlds greatest food for showing off light, leafy white wines. While a Sauvignon Blanc will certainly enhance the pesto and the beans, any other lightly herbal white wine will also do the trick. The addition of potatoes and pasta adds richness, which must be cut, so look for a wine with noticeable acidity. Dependable: Sauvignon Blanc. Daring: dry sparkling wine such as a Prosecco.

Ingredients:

For the pesto:

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
  • 2 or 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino sardo or Parmiginao-Reggiano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, or as needed
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 8 new potatoes, 9 to 10 oz. total
  • 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch lengths
  • 1 lb. fresh tagliarini or fettuccine
  • 1/4 cup grated pecorino sardo or Parmesan cheese

Directions:

To make the pesto, preheat an oven to 350°F. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until they take on color and are fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool. Leave the oven set at 350°F. In a food processor, combine the nuts, basil and garlic. Pulse until the basil is chopped. Add the cheese and pulse to combine. With the motor running, pour in the 1/2 cup oil, a few drops at a time, until the mixture has the consistency of mayonnaise, adding more oil as needed. Season with salt and pepper; set aside.

Rub the potatoes with 2 Tbs. of the olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place in a baking dish and roast, shaking the dish from time to time, until tender when pierced, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot three-fourths full of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until tender, about 4 minutes. Scoop out with a skimmer, cool under running water and drain. Reserve the cooking water.

Remove the potatoes from the oven and cut into bite-size pieces. In a large sauté pan over high heat, warm the remaining 2 Tbs. olive oil. Add the potatoes and sauté until golden, about 4 minutes. Add the beans and stir until heated through, about 1 minute. Keep warm.

Meanwhile, return the large pot of water to a boil. Drop in the pasta, stir well and cook until al dente (tender but firm to the bite), about 2 minutes. Drain, reserving a few Tbs. of the cooking water. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl.

Stir the pesto and the reserved water into the vegetables in the pan (off the heat). Add to the pasta and toss well. Pass the cheese at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Lifestyles Series, Food & Wine Pairing, by Joyce Goldstein (Time-Life Books, 1999).