Dean shares recipe for homemade Pesto Pasta with Green Beans & Toasted Pine Nuts

Dean Cooks

WGN Entertainment Critic Dean Richards shares his recipe for homemade Pesto Pasta with Green Beans and Toasted Pine Nuts – inspired by the Italian vibe in the new Disney & Pixar’s Luca.  


  • ¾ cup pine nuts (divided, ½ cup for pesto – ¼ cup for topping
  • 3 oz. Parmesan, grated (about ¾ cup)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6 cups basil leaves (about 3 bunches)
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 lb. pasta (use something long and thin that looks like a green bean like gemelli or decorative like rotini or farfalle)
  • 1 lb. trimmed green greens or haricot vert beans (smaller, thinner.)


Slowly toast the pine nuts in some olive oil in a saute pan. Remove as they just begin to turn golden brown. Set aside.

When cooled, transfer a 1/2 cup of the pine nuts to a food processor. Add the cheese and garlic and pulse until finely ground, about 1 minute. Add basil and pulse. When incorporated, with the motor running, add oil in a slow and steady stream until pesto is mostly smooth, with just a few flecks of green, about 1 minute. Season with salt. Can be made a day ahead of time. Top with olive oil to prevent browning. Chill.

Bring a large pot of liberally salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente.

In another pot of liberally salted boiling water, blanche the green beans until bright green, about 2-3 minutes. Submerge them in ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and set aside.

Mix the pesto and green beans in a large pan or serving dish. When thoroughly mixed together, add the pasta. Continue to mix until all is coated. Add ½ to 1 cups of pasta water if you want the sauce to be a little thinner in texture.

Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Sprinkle with remaining toasted pine nuts. Sprinkle shredded basil leave for garnish. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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