Pesto a Liguria

Pesto a Liguria

Pesto is a widely loved sauce originating in the 1800s in Liguria, a northern Italian region. Originally, pesto was blended by pounding the basil leaves and other ingredients in a marble bowl. Today, blenders make pesto much faster and easier to make at home!

There are many versions of pesto all around the world, however, this recipe takes the traditional approach. You will be combining basil, pine nuts, salt, garlic, Parmesan, and Pecorino Romano. Your taste buds will think they’ve on the coastline of Northern Italy when you take a bite! The addition of potatoes and green beans not only taste amazing in the pesto pasta, but result in a more filling dish. Potatoes historically have been a popular addition to pesto as they’re inexpensive and plentiful. Even today in Liguria, potatoes and green beans will be mixed into your pesto pasta! 

Serves 4 as a main course 


Pesto Sauce:

  • 4 cups of basil 
  • 2 garlic cloves 
  • ½ cup of pine nuts 
  • ½ cup olive oil ( more for testing) 
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan 
  • ½ cup grated Pecorino Romano


  • 16 oz Tagliatelle pasta
  • 2 small Yukon Gold potatoes
  • Handful of green beans 


  1. Start off by adding the pine nuts to a small pan over medium-high heat. Roasting for 2 minutes or until golden. Set aside.
  2. Add the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, garlic, and grated Parmesan and Pecorino Romano to a blender.
  3. Chop the ingredients in the blender and season to taste with salt. Don’t over mix. When ready move pesto to a container. 
  4. Cut the Yukon Gold potatoes into small cubes and cut the string beans in half. Then fill up a large pot with water, and add the potatoes and salt. When the water boils add in pasta and the string beans. Cook the pasta according to the directions. 
  5. Before you pour the water out, reserve a cup of pasta water. 
  6. Pour the pasta, string beans, and potatoes back into the pot. Immediately add ½ cup of pasta water and three heaping scoops of pesto stir until combined. Add more pesto sauce and pasta water if needed.
  7. Enjoy!