Linguine with Frenched Green Beans and Parsley Pesto

In 1980, pesto was basically unknown," Recalls Johanne Killeen, a member of the very first class of Best New Chefs back in 1988. "The summer before we opened, we contracted a farmer in Little Compton to grow a field of basil for us. That's how obscure it was—we had to make a special arrangement for pesto." In this classic recipe, Killen employs starchy pasta water to thicken her fresh pesto into a sauce that clings to and flavors each strand of linguine, instead of pooling in the bowl. Thinly sliced green beans intertwine with the pasta, offering a refreshing crunch

Linguine with Frenched Green Beans and Parsley Pesto Recipe
Photo: Photo by Tara Donne / Food Styling by Chris Lanier / Prop Styling by Raina Kattelson
Total Time:
20 mins


  • 8 ounces fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into very thin strips (about 3 cups)

  • 8 ounces uncooked linguine

  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

  • 10 large fresh basil leaves

  • 1/2 cup light-tasting olive oil or extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 small garlic clove, trimmed

  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for salting water

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or to taste

  • 2 ounces pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about 1/2 cup), plus more for serving


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high. Add green beans, and cook until just cooked through and tender, about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Using a spider, transfer beans to a colander, and set aside. Return water to a boil over medium-high, and add pasta. Cook, stirring often, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid; pour pasta and remaining cooking liquid into colander over beans. (This will warm the beans if they have begun to cool.)

  2. Combine parsley, basil, olive oil, garlic, salt, and cayenne in a food processor or blender, and pulse until pureed but still slightly chunky, 8 to 10 times. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl. Stir in pecorino Romano, and set aside.

  3. Transfer pasta and beans to serving bowl with pesto, and toss to combine. Add some of the reserved cooking liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, to loosen pesto, ensuring pesto evenly coats pasta mixture. Serve immediately, passing extra pecorino Romano at the table.

Make Ahead

Pesto can be made up to 3 days in advance and stored in an airtight container in refrigerator.


Regular green beans are thicker than French haricots verts, but haricots verts may be substituted.

Suggested Pairing

Fresh, herbal Sauvignon Blanc.

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