Ingredients (serves 4)
- 300g diced red potatoes, skins on
- 200g green beans, fresh or frozen, cut into 2cm pieces
- 3 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
- 225g spaghetti
- 2 tbsp basil pesto
- 1 tbsp pine nuts, toasted
- 1 tbsp grated Pecorino cheese
- Handful of fresh basil
1. Bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add the potatoes, beans and garlic. Cook, uncovered, for three minutes.
2. Add the pasta and return to the boil, stirring often, until it's al dente.
3. Remove about 50ml of the pasta water and combine it with the pesto in a large serving dish.
4. Drain the pasta, potatoes, beans, and garlic and toss gently with the pesto.
5. Top each serving with pine nuts, fresh basil and Pecorino cheese to taste.
A generous sprinkling of fresh torn basil has rescued many a depressing dinner and this ever-popular herb is also very good for you. Like many green and leafy foods, basil is an excellent source of vitamin K, which is needed for blood clotting and helps maintain bone strength. It may also offer protection against some cancers.
The humble - and let's be honest, it's not much to look at - potato has had a bad reputation in terms of nutrition because we have a habit of frying it in fat, covering it with cheese or mixing it with butter. But potatoes are rich in vitamin C (a powerful antioxidant) and are also a good source of B vitamins and minerals such as potassium (for muscle and nerve function), and magnesium (needed for the production of energy). Thin-skinned red potatoes, such as Desiree, can be cooked with the skin on, to retain more nutrition.
These are packed with good things: fibre, for effective digestion; antioxidants such as vitamin C to protect the body from free radicals; vitamin A, needed for a strong immune system; and minerals such as manganese, which helps make some of the body's enzymes. This is by no means an exhaustive list: green beans also contain potassium, iron, B vitamins, vitamin K and copper.
This recipe was printed in the June 2011 edition of Triathlete's World magazine.