Fusilli with Pesto and Green Beans
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We’re no stranger to the old pesto switcheroo—you know, adding additional green vegetables to the traditional basil-based sauce for a flavorful and nutritious upgrade. Here, Giada De Laurentiis is showing us how she makes the dish even more kid friendly: Enter fusilli with pesto and green beans from her new book, Eat Better, Feel Better.
“Pairing pesto with two kinds of veggies makes this one of the greenest pasta dishes you can have,” she writes, “and if [my daughter] Jade is any example, it’s one kids are happy to eat. The pesto coats each twist of pasta like a velvety jacket, making every bite fun to eat.”
According to De Laurentiis, you’ll have leftover pesto—refrigerate it for up to a week (if it lasts that long).
Recipe courtesy of Eat Better, Feel Better by Giada De Laurentiis. Copyright © 2021 by GDL Foods Inc. Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC.
¼ cup pine nuts
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 garlic clove
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, divided
One 8-ounce package whole-grain or gluten-free fusilli
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
½ pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
One 10-ounce bag frozen peas
½ cup ricotta cheese
1. In a small, dry skillet over medium heat, toast the pine nuts until fragrant and just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a plate to cool.
2. In a food processor, combine the basil, garlic, ½ teaspoon of the salt, the pepper and the pine nuts. Pulse until finely chopped. With the machine running, gradually add enough of the extra-virgin olive oil to form a smooth and thick paste; you may not need it all. Transfer the pesto to a medium bowl and stir in ½ cup of the cheese. Season with more salt and pepper to taste. Measure out ⅓ cup of the pesto and save the rest for another time.
3. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Season the water generously with kosher salt. Add the pasta and cook 1 minute less than directed on the package, about 5 minutes. Reserve ⅓ cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta well. If using gluten-free pasta, rinse it under cool running water and drain again.
4. While the pasta cooks, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the olive oil and shallot to the pan with ½ teaspoon of the salt and cook for about 1 minute. Add the green beans and the remaining ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring often, until the beans are just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook for another minute.
5. Add the drained pasta to the pan along with the reserved pasta water. Sprinkle the pasta with the remaining ½ cup cheese, add the ⅓ cup of pesto and toss well to coat. Serve with a dollop of ricotta on top.