Penne with Potatoes, Green Beans, and Herbs

Preparation info

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    • Difficulty


Appears in

Lighter, Quicker, Better: Cooking for the Way We Eat Today

Lighter, Quicker, Better

By Richard Sax and Marie Simmons

Published 2000

  • About

Pasta with potatoes and green beans is typical of Genoa, where the dish is tossed with pesto. We’ve used lots of fresh herbs instead. For the right-balance of textures, the beans should not be undercooked.


  • ¼ cup (packed) flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon oregano leaves, stripped from stems
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, stripped from stems
  • 1 pound small red-skinned potatoes, scrubbed
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ cup slivered red (bell) pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ pound penne or other tubular pasta
  • 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed, cut to same length as penne (about inches)
  • Freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


    1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
    2. Finely chop the parsley, oregano, and thyme together. Set aside. Cook the potatoes in boiling salted water until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and let stand until cool enough to handle. Halve the potatoes and slice into ¼-inch-thick half-moon shapes.
    3. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet, preferably nonstick, over medium heat. Add the red pepper and sauté 1 minute. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds longer. Add the potatoes, herb mixture, ½ teaspoon salt, and the pepper.
    4. Add salt to the pasta water. Cook the penne for 5 minutes; add the green beans and cook until the penne is al dente and the beans are tender, about 8 minutes. Ladle out cup pasta cooking liquid. Drain the pasta.
    5. Toss together the pasta and green beans, pasta cooking liquid, and potato mixture. Correct seasonings and serve at once. Pass freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese at the table.