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Ziti with Pesto and Potatoes

The green beans and potatoes can be cooked 1 day in advance. Leave the potatoes whole and peel and chop them just before using. Add the potatoes and green beans to the boiling pasta 1 minute before the pasta is al dente, to heat them through. Drain the pasta and vegetables and then toss with the pesto as directed.

Ingredients:

  • 3 white boiling potatoes, about 5 oz. total
  • 2 Tbs. salt
  • 3/4 lb. ziti, penne or other tubular pasta
  • 1/3 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut crosswise into thirds
  • 1 cup pesto sauce, homemade (see related recipe at left) or purchased
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

Directions:

Cook the potatoes
In a saucepan, add the potatoes with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a sharp knife, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and cut the potatoes into cubes.

Cook the pasta and green beans
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the salt and pasta to the boiling water. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, until al dente, according to the package instructions. Add the beans to the boiling water about 5 minutes before the pasta is ready.

Finish the dish
Drain the pasta and beans, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water.

In a serving bowl, mix a few tablespoons of the cooking water with the pesto. Add the potatoes, pasta and beans and toss to combine. Add as much of the remaining cooking water as needed to loosen the sauce. Serve, passing the cheese at the table. Serves 4.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Pasta, by Julia della Croce (Oxmoor House, 2006).