Poached Idaho® Potatoes with Trofie Pasta, Green Beans and Pesto


  • 2 medium Idaho® potatoes, unpeeled, washed, rubbed clean and dry
  • 4 cups extra-virgin olive oil, or enough to cover potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 pound trofie pasta (penne, gemelli or orecchiette may be substituted)
  • 26 green beans, trimmed and washed
  • Ice water
  • 4 ounces crème fraîche
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • Pinch coarse sea salt
  • Pesto
  • 1/2 pound fresh basil leaves
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or blanched almonds (optional)
  • 1 lemon, zested and then juiced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


  1. Put potatoes in heavy-bottomed pan; add enough olive oil to cover potatoes. Heat oil to just below a simmer, about 200ºF. (Do not let oil reach a higher temperature or potato jackets will be too crisp.) Cook potatoes 45 minutes to 1 hour, until tender with a slight resistance when pierced with sharp knife. (Potatoes will continue to cook after they are removed from heat.) Remove from heat, leaving potatoes in the oil. Let stand at least 1 hour, or refrigerate up to 24 hours.
  2. Bring 4 quarts water to boil with 2 tablespoons kosher salt; stir in pasta. Cook until pasta is tender but not soft. Drain and reserve refrigerated, up to 1 day.
  3. Blanch green beans in salted boiling water until just tender, 1 to 3 minutes. Drain and plunge into ice water to stop cooking, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain; cut into 1-inch pieces. Reserve refrigerated, up to 1 day.
  4. Prepare Pesto: In food processor, combine basil and garlic until finely chopped. Scrape down bowl once; run for an additional minute. With motor running, add oil, nuts if using, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and cayenne pepper. Scrape down bowl; process 30 seconds more, adding more oil if necessary to smooth out texture, and more lemon if desired.
  5. Place Parmigiano-Reggiano in bowl; add basil mixture; stir to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste. Reserve refrigerated, up to 1 day.
  6. For service, reheat potatoes in olive oil to 200ºF.
  7. In heavy-bottomed sauté pan large enough to hold all the pasta, warm stock at medium heat. Add pasta; cook until most of stock absorbs into pasta, 3 to 4 minutes.
  8. Add green beans and crème fraîche; increase heat to medium high; cook to a sauce-like consistency, 2 to 4 minutes. Taste for desired doneness of pasta and beans and add a bit more stock or water if necessary.
  9. Reduce heat to medium; add half of the pesto and kosher salt to taste. Mix well; remove from heat.
  10. Divide pasta mixture among 4 pasta bowls or plates. Carefully remove potatoes from oil; drain on paper towel. Cut potatoes in half and crumble one piece over each portion of pasta. Season potatoes with a pinch of sea salt and serve at once.
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Yield: 4 servings

Holly Smith
Cafe Juanita
Kirkland, WA

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