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Tonight’s Dinner: Ziti with pesto and green beans

Pesto goes well with any kind of pasta. But when that pasta is mixed with green vegetables, it turns a kid no-no into a big kid yes!

Pasta is one of those great dinners that’s quick and easy and always a crowd pleaser. It doesn’t matter if you choose tomato, Alfredo or pesto sauce, everyone is always going to clean their plates. So since pasta’s always a guarantee with little mouths, why not sneak some veggies in there while you’re at it. The sauce that you use, no matter which type, will hide those icky green vegetables while thrilling big and small mouths alike.

Ziti with pesto and green beans


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 pound penne pasta
  • 1/3 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into thirds


  1. To make the pesto: Combine the basil and the garlic in the food processor and pulse a few times. Slowly pour in the olive oil while the processor is running. Add a 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan and pulse until combined. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Meanwhile cook the penne according to the package directions. Add the green beans to the boiling pasta water about five minutes before the pasta is done cooking. Drain the pasta and beans, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water.
  3. In a serving bowl, mix together a few tablespoons of the cooking water with the pesto. Add the pasta and beans and toss to combine. Top with remaining Parmesan cheese and serve.

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