Pasta with Green Beans and Savory Pesto (Pasta ai Fagioli e Pesto di Santoreggia)

Green Beans (also known as String Beans or French Beans) are in season right now, which means that beans from around here are abundant and we don’t have to make do with imported stuff from Northern Africa.  Green beans and haricots verts are essentially the same thing, but the name “haricots verts” outside of France is usually reserved for the thinnest ones only.

Some months ago Richard of posted a chicken recipe that used a herb called savory. I thought I had never heard of savory before, but that wasn’t entirely true because I did know it under the Dutch name “bonenkruid” even though I didn’t remember ever tasting it. The name “bonenkruid” suggests that it’s good with beans (it means “bean herb”) so when I saw a fresh savory plant at the produce department, I decided to try making pasta with green beans and savory pesto. The savory pesto has a punchy taste, very savory indeed, and did go great with the beans. The savory smells a bit like fresh oregano, but the taste is stronger. Thanks Richard for the inspiration. Here’s what I did…



For 2 servings

150-200 grams (.33 – .44 lbs) penne pasta

400 grams (.9 lbs) green beans or haricots verts

1 bunch fresh savory

1 small handful of pine nuts

2 generous handfuls of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano

some good extra virgin olive oil

1 clove garlic, roughly chopped



Start by making the pesto. It is actually best to do this the day before to allow the flavors to develop. Remove any tough stems from the savory. Combine the savory with the pine nuts, the garlic, a small pinch of salt and some olive oil in the blender. Only a small pinch of salt is needed, because savory is indeed very savory by itself.

Pulse until coarsely ground, adding a bit more olive oil if needed.

Add freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.

Process just long enough to incorporate the cheese. If storing until the next day, put the pesto in a bowl, cover with a thin layer of olive oil, cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add salt and the pasta. Cook the pasta al dente according to the time indicated on the package. Add the beans about 10 minutes before the pasta is done, depending on the thickness of the beans and how you like them cooked (snappy or softer).

Drain the pasta and beans at the end of the cooking time, reserving some of the cooking water. Combine the pasta, beans, and pesto in the pot or a serving dish and add a bit of the cooking water.

Toss to mix.

Serve immediately on warm plates, sprinkled with some more freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.

18 thoughts on “Pasta with Green Beans and Savory Pesto (Pasta ai Fagioli e Pesto di Santoreggia)

      1. Stefan, You always have brilliant responses. 😀 )))
        As you know, I live in an apartment but do have a limited balcony space. I have a good size pot each of mint and basil, which I get excited every time I use them. 😀


  1. Now why have I not thought of this? OK, may have to wait for savoury for a few months – my two pots outside do not look too healthy 😉 ! That looks absolutely scrumptious!! OK: to try settle ‘an Oz argument’ ere Saturday night pleasures, yes, herbs are freely available in Oz markets, but they are quite expensive and savoury often does not feature!! Pace!!


    1. Thanks 🙂 I hadn’t realized that savory just like labor is written with an additional u in some places. Herbs are quite expensive around here in many places too, which is why I grow my own and buy them wholesale when I can.


      1. Stefan – you have actually brought up a very interesting point!! I wrote naturally without thinking about spelling: Next time I go to a nursery, I really have to have a look :D!! I would not dream spelling ‘labour’ without the ‘u’!! But I have never thought of ‘savory’ with it!! How delightful to find out 🙂 ! Why? Thanks for the query!!!! Anyways: grow your own if you can and [perhaps] let the spelling take care of its own 😀 !!!


  2. I’ve not used savory before, Stefan, but I do love string beans with pesto & pasta. A bit of savory may bring new life to this old favorite. Thanks for the inspiration.


  3. Beste Stefan, if ever you have too many green beans (we planted too many this year): it is also possible to make a lovely dip out green beans, cheese, oil, nuts, garlic and herbs (whichever ones you fancy). Everybody likes it and nobody guesses the main ingredient. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

      1. yes I use them raw (since they are just picked and very tender). I would guess that for older/tougher beans you’d have to blanch them first (?)


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