This is one of those classic Italian dishes that relies on a few really good quality ingredients, ending up with something greater than the sum of the parts. I've adapted this recipe from a classic Ligurian pasta dish, the Italian region that’s famed for growing basil and making fantastic pesto. To do this dish justice, you just need really good pasta, amazing pesto, fresh green beans and a grating of salty pecorino cheese.
Buying good quality pasta is something that seems like a ‘no brainer’. Pasta is generally pretty cheap so investing a few more pence for a good pasta will really make the difference. Our Armando pasta is slow dried to preserve the flavour and extruded through a bronze die which gives it a much rougher texture, which means that more sauce will stick to it. More sauce on your pasta, means every mouthful is tastier.
I can remember in the mid 80’s when pesto was first hitting the shelves of the UK supermarkets, it added a little Italian flair to our meat and veg dinners at home. However, as I became aware of what freshly made pesto could taste like, these jars on the supermarket shelves have always been more, ‘George at Asda’ than ‘Giorgio Armani’. Designed for chefs in top quality restaurants, our pesto is completely different….it’s frozen. This means that there are no preservatives, no acidity regulators, no gums or stabilisers – it’s just proper made pesto, that tastes amazing. What’s more, it’s made into cubes, so you can use what you want and put the rest back in the freezer, no more mouldy jars in the fridge!
Fettuccine with Pesto, Green Beans and Pecorino Cheese
100g Sugosi Frozen Pesto
150g Fresh Green Beans, topped and tailed and cut in half
A good grating of Pecorino Romano cheese
A few glugs of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Here's a video of us making this in the Somerset Foodie kitchen. Scroll down for the full instructions...
Start by bringing a large pot of water to the boil and give it a good 2 or 3 pinches of salt. It’s almost a crime to cook pasta in water without salt. Once the pot is on a rolling boil, add your pasta.
Meanwhile, you’ll need two more pans – a small one to blanch your green beans and a larger pan for the pasta sauce. The pesto cubes take about 5 minutes to melt down, so gentle heat the pan with a little olive oil and add the pesto cubes. They’ll melt pretty quickly so just watch they don’t catch on the pan.
Once the pasta has been cooking for about 5 minutes, blanch your beans for about 3 to 4 minutes, drain and keep warm (just in the hot pan is fine).
All Italians will have an option about how long to cook pasta, I like it with a good bite, but cook it how you like and then drain. Tip the pasta into the pan with the pesto, along with the green beans. Mix them all together and serve with a good grating of Pecorino cheese.
All this should take no more than 15 minutes. Enjoy.
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Leafy green vegetables are fantastic on pizza. Italians love 'Friarielli' but it's hard to find in the UK so I've used purple sprouting broccoli instead. Use creamy ricotta, salty olives, a good grating of Grana Padano, liberal use of some Calabrian spicy peperoncini and a fantastic pizza awaits.
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Ben and Alice