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 REMCooks.com 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…
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.
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).