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"If you eat in the region of Italy that created pesto, Genovese-style, very often pesto pasta is made with haricot vert or potatoes. This is a fall, sturdy riff on that," Rach says. "This pesto-style sauce with pasta and beans is delicious hot, room temperature or served as a cold dish."
- 1 large Russet potato, peeled
- 1 package (or bulk 12 to 16 ounces) green beans
- 4 to 5 cups lacinato/Tuscan flat kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped, or baby kale
- Zest and juice of 1 lemon
- About ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ cup walnuts, toasted in small pan or oven and cooled
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1 cup grated cheese: pecorino (sheep's milk), Parmigiano-Reggiano (cow's milk) or a combination of both
- About ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 pound short-cut pasta
Slice potato into ¼-inch-thick planks, then cut planks into sticks, and chop sticks into small dice. Trim beans if necessary then cut on bias into small bite-sized pieces.
Bring 4 to 5 quarts water to boil for pasta.
Place kale, lemon zest and nutmeg in food processor with juice of 1 lemon and pulse to very finely chop, then add walnuts and garlic and pulse, add cheese and pulse again. Add EVOO, streaming it in to form a thick sauce. Season the kale sauce with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer sauce to a large bowl.
Salt boiling water, add pasta and cook 3 to 4 minutes, add green beans and potatoes and cook 3 to 4 minutes more, being mindful to cook pasta 1 minute less than package directions. Remove a full cup of boiling water and whisk together with kale sauce to loosen. Remove another ⅓ to ½ cup, just in case pasta gets dry if serving at room temperature. Drain pasta, beans and potatoes, and toss with sauce. Serve hot, room temperature or cold.