The first option is a traditional Italian (Liguria, the mother country of pesto) dish, whose name is "Advantaged" Pesto (Pesto Avvantaggiato), actually it's advantaged by the presence of green beans and potatoes.
When you prepare pasta al pesto, before adding the pasta of your choice to the salted boiling water, you half cook few handful of green beans chopped in half, and a potato chopped in small cubes.
Then you add pasta and after everything is done, you drain the pasta and vegetables and evenly season with the pesto sauce. Take care to save some of the cooking water to dilute the sauce if it's too thick.
The second option, that I invented one day to convince (trick) my 3-year-old boy to eat some vegetable, is simpler.
When you boil the pasta, one minute before it's done, add to the boiling water one medium zucchini finely grated.
When done, drain and season with the pesto sauce, the grated zucchini are scarcely visible and the pasta come out lighter.
If you don't know how to do your own pesto sauce, I will tell you how I do, but sorry I don't measure ingredients.
You need a blender or small electric mixer.
- two or three handful of basil leaves without stem, washed and dried.
- some (4 o 5) spoonful of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese or Grana Padano cheese grated.
- some (2 o 3) spoonful of pine nuts (or/and cashews, walnuts)
- pinch of salt
- 1 garlic clove peeled
- extra virgin olive oil
-put all the dry ingredients in the blender
-add some olive oil, more or less one third of the mass ( 1/2 cup?).
-blend until you obtain a coarse cream
-if needed add some more oil.
Note: the quantities are subjective, if you love raw garlic add more, if you love more nuts add more, follow your own taste.
And you can add some Pecorino cheese if you like it, or/and some ricotta cheese, or some butter.