You read right: potato and pasta. It's a northern Italian thing that can be your thing, too. Add some fresh spring vegetables for colour and nutrition, plus freshly-made wild garlic - or wild leek - pesto to make it sing. Tastes great cold, too.
In a large pan bring water to the boil - salted if you wish - and add the pasta and potatoes. Let come to the boil and cook for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, coarsely chop the wild garlic, or wild leeks and blanch in hot water for 10 seconds. This helps keep the bright green colour and zaps any nasties that might be on the leaves. Squeeze the blanched leaves in a tea towel and add it to a mini food chopper/food processor.
Add also to the mini food processor bowl the olive oil, pine nuts, garlic(s), and a pinch of salt and pepper. You will need to stop once to push the bits that are stuck to the side back down near the blade. Blend until smooth or mostly smooth. Remove the blade and stir in the cheese.
After 10 minutes, add the chopped asparagus to the boiling potatoes and pasta and let cook for three minutes. Test a potato and the pasta to make sure they are just cooked - al dente for the pasta and only just cooked for the potatoes is best, imo. Drain, saving a little of the water to loosen the final dish if needed. I also save the rest to use in soup the next day.
Tip the cooked ingredients back into the pan and stir in the pesto, coating well and adding more liquid if needed. Immediately divide between two warmed bowls and top with more cheese and extra black pepper. I also think a squeeze of juicy lemon brings it all together and balances the inherent richness of this dish.
Using green beans is more traditional, so use those - even frozen ones - if you wish. Or both! Peas, spinach or chard are great to add in or use instead.
This recipe is surprisingly good cold, so take any leftovers to work and avoid the queue for the microwave.
Use whatever pasta you like. Trofie is the most common shape but I've used cavatappi here and it was fab. Shaped pasta tends to work better than spaghetti, but use that spaghetti if you wish. This might keep it cheaper too.