Several years ago, I had the pleasure of working with an Australian chap called Lui. Lui is of Italian descent and passionate about food. Occasionally during our lunch hour we would take a 20 minutes bus ride to visit a little Italian delicatessen near Holborn viaduct. Once there, Lui would explain to me how to cook all the different vegetables and pastas. He introduced me to various Italian delights including Chinotto, mortadella and ricotta sandwiches and this very simple pesto dish that Lui described as traditional Italian peasant food.
Serves 2 as a main course or up to 6 as a side dish
- 350g new potatoes
- 200g green beans – trimmed
- 4 tablespoons green pesto
- If necessary, cut the potatoes into bite-sized chunks. Boil them until cooked and drain them in a colander.
- While the potatoes are draining place the green beans in a microwave proof bowl. Add a tablespoon of water and then place a lid on the bowl. Microwave the beans for 1 minute on the highest setting. Taste a bean, they are cooked when they still have a slight crunch. If necessary cook for a little longer. Once cooked, add the beans to the colander to drain.
- Put the potatoes and beans in a large mixing bowl and add the pesto and a little salt and pepper. Mix well and then taste to check the seasoning. Adjust as required and serve either as a simple main course or a side dish with pasta or meat.
- You can also eat this dish cold as a variation on potato salad – ideal for summer barbecues and picnics.
I like to add a teaspoon of chilli flakes just to give the dish a little kick and a bit of colour. Simply add the chilli flakes at the same time as the pesto and the seasoning. Steve objects strongly to this practice.