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Pasta Genovese

This classic Pasta Genovese recipe uses orecchiette pasta and potatoes and simple, but delicious homemade pesto. I first came across this recipe at the River Cafe where they always cook seasonally and write up new menus every day based on what’s fresh and available!

Servings: Serves 4 – 6

Cooking time: 30 minutes

What you’ll need

A food processor and saucepan!


  • 350g orecchiette
  • 200g waxy potatoes ( charlotte or vivaldi )
  • 200g fine green beans, top & tail and cut into bite size pieces


  • Large bunch of basil ( approx 60g ) washed and dried.
  • 1 clove garlic peeled
  • ½ lemon
  • 200g parmesan
  • 40g pine nuts toasted until light golden
  • 3 – 6 tablespoon olive oil


  1. To make the pesto put the basil, garlic and pine nuts in a food processor and blitz until you have a smooth paste.
  2. Add the olive oil and half of the parmesan, a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of salt and pepper and blitz again.
  3. Taste and correct the seasoning, adding more salt or lemon juice to taste.
  4. Add more olive oil as needed.
  5. Meanwhile bring a large pan of water to the boil for the pasta , add a good pinch of salt.
  6. Cook the potatoes until just cooked through, then peel and slice and drizzle with olive oil and keep warm in the oven.
  7. Cook the green beans in boiling salted water until just cooked. Keep warm with the potatoes.
  8. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook until al dente. Strain but keep some of the cooking water.
  9. Add the pasta back to the pan with the pesto , potatoes and green beans . Season and taste and loosen the sauce with the pasta cooking water.
  10. Serve in warm bowls with more parmesan.


Orchiette comes from the Italian words “orecchio” (ear) and “etto” (small), and is available in most supermarkets, although any shell shaped pasta will work.



Thank you both so much for the very enjoyable course – the chocolate cake was delicious & a great hit😋🤗


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