Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans

Pasta with Pesto, Potatoes and Green Beans
by Susie Heller
Simple Feast

pasta with pesto.jpg

Serves 4
45 minutes total time
35 minutes active time

It may seem unusual to combine potatoes with pasta, but this is a classic Ligurian dish.  The pesto can be made ahead and refrigerated (with a light film of olive oil poured over the top) for a day or two or frozen, but I like to add the cheese shortly before serving. If the pesto has been stored, just stir the cheese in by hand.

2 cups packed basil leaves
2 cloves peeled garlic
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
½ cup extra virgin olive oil, preferably Ligurian
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus a small chunk for garnishing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 ounces haricot vert or green beans
8 ounces red skinned potatoes, peeled
8 ounces penne pasta
Lemon, optional

Bring a pot of water to a boil and make an ice water bath.

Add the basil leaves to the water and blanch for about 30 seconds. Remove the basil with a skimmer and plunge into the ice water to chill. After about 1 minute, remove the basil, squeeze dry and roughly chop.

Put the garlic, pine nuts, basil and olive oil in a blender. Blend to combine, but keep some texture to it to the mixture. Add the Parmesan and pulse to incorporate. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Bring a large pasta pot, preferably with a strainer insert, of salted water to a boil. Dice the potatoes into a ½-inch dice. Add the potatoes and cook until tender, about 8 minutes. Using a skimmer, remove the potatoes and set aside.

Cut the beans on the diagonal to the approximate size of the penne pasta. Add the green beans to the water and cook until tender. Remove and set aside.  Add the pasta to the water and cook until tender.

Remove and reserve about 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta.

Put the pasta in a large skillet.  Stir in enough pesto to coat (you may have extra pesto), adding small amounts of the pasta water as necessary,  to reach the right consistency to coat the pasta. Stir in the beans and potatoes. Season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.

Spoon into the serving bowls. Using a vegetable peeler, garnish the pasta with shavings of Parmesan cheese.

Rasp grater
Vegetable peeler



Spicy Shrimp Tacos


Spicy Shrimp Tacos
by Susie Heller
Simple Feast

Grilled shrimp with sriracha make a great appetizer on their own, but you can easily turn them into a whole meal. All the prep for this can be done ahead, so it only takes a few minutes to put the tacos together and they are easy to make in large batches when you entertain.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos
Makes 4-6 tacos
45 minutes total
45 minutes active

Pickled Red Onions
1 small red onion, peeled
1/3 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon granulated sugar

¼ cup sour cream
1 lime
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Avocado-Tomato Salsa
1 avocado, cut into a dice
1 large tomato, cut into a dice
1-2 serrano peppers, seeded and minced
Small handful cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
Lime juice, to taste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

¼ cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sriracha, or to taste
½ pound shrimp, peeled and deveined

Serve with
4 6-inch corn or flour tortillas
Cilantro leaves

For the pickled red onion: Cut the onion through the root end. Cut off and discard the root. Cut half the onion into slivers by cutting lengthwise, following the lines of the onion. Put into a small container. Reserve the remaining onion for another use. Put the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Pour over the onions and bring to room temperature. The onions can be refrigerated covered by the liquid for 1 week.

For the drizzle: Put the sour cream in a small bowl. Zest half the lime into the bowl and add the juice of half the lime. Taste and add more lime zest, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until serving.

For the salsa: Combine all the salsa ingredients. The salsa can be refrigerated for up to 1 day.

For the shrimp: Preheat a grill or grill pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Dry the shrimp on paper towels. Combine the mayonnaise and sriracha.  Just before grilling, using a silicone spatula, fold the shrimp into the mayonnaise mixture creating a nice thick, even coating.

Place the tortillas on the grill. Turn to mark and warm each side. Set aside.

Using tongs, lift each piece of shrimp and arrange on the grill. Grill to a rich golden brown then flip the shrimp. Continue to flip as needed until the shrimp are cooked, about 4-5 minutes total.

To serve: Spoon the salsa down the center of each tortilla. Arrange the shrimp over the top. Garnish with the drizzle, cilantro leaves and pickled onions.

Susie Heller is part of Simple Feast, an app that hosts an amazing community of Chefs and their delicious recipes. To view more recipes go to Simple Feast.

Equipment Needed:
Grill Pan
Rasp grater
Silicone spatula
Small saucepan