Orecchiette With Basil and Pistachio Pesto and Green and Yellow Beans

The small ear-shaped pasta provides hollows for the delicious sauce to settle into. I’ve combined pasta, pesto and green beans before, but I’ve never used

orecchiette, the small ear-shaped pasta. I cut the beans into small lengths so that everything is bite-size. I love the way the pesto settles into the little hollows of the orecchiette.


For the pesto

  • 2 cups, tightly packed, basil leaves (2 ounces)
  • 2 heaped tablespoons unsalted pistachios (1 ounce)
  • Salt to taste
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled, halved, green shoots removed if present
  • 2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan (1/2 cup)
  • Freshly ground pepper

For the pasta

  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 1 pound mixed green and yellow beans, trimmed and cut in 3/4-inch lengths (you can use all green beans if yellow beans are unavailable)
  • Pasta water (about 1/4 cup)
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (6 servings)

      477 calories; 17 grams fat; 3 grams saturated fat; 10 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 64 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams dietary fiber; 2 grams sugars; 15 grams protein; 6 milligrams cholesterol; 140 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

Serves 6


  1. Begin heating a large pot of water for the pasta. Meanwhile grind the basil leaves and pistachios in a food processor fitted with the steel blade, or in a mortar and pestle. Add salt to taste and slowly drizzle in the olive oil. Blend or grind until smooth.
  2. Mash the garlic in a mortar and pestle or through a garlic press and add to the basil mixture. Blend together. Add the cheese and blend together. Taste, adjust salt and add pepper. Transfer to a large pasta bowl.
  3. When the water comes to a boil, salt generously and add the orecchiette. Set the timer for 10 minutes, and after 5 minutes add the green beans. Boil the orecchiette and beans until the pasta is cooked al dente, another 5 to 6 minutes. Remove 1/2 cup of the cooking water from the pot and add 2 to 4 tablespoons to the pesto. Stir with a fork or a whisk until the pesto is smooth (add more water if desired). Drain the pasta and beans, toss with the pesto and serve.
  • Advance preparation: The pesto can be made ahead through step 1 and kept in the refrigerator for a couple of days or frozen for a couple of weeks.

30 minutes

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