Pesto pasta is a quick and easy dish perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends. The combination of pasta, fresh basil, garlic, and pine nuts creates a delicious and satisfying meal that will delight you. This vegetarian-friendly recipe can easily be made vegan by omitting parmesan cheese.
Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa, Italy, typically made with fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. The sauce is traditionally pounded with a mortar and pestle, which gives it a slightly coarse texture. Pesto can be used in various dishes, but one popular way to enjoy it is with pasta. Pesto pasta is a simple yet flavorful dish that can be enjoyed independently. The plate is made by tossing cooked pasta with pesto sauce and adding a few additional ingredients, such as cherry tomatoes or grilled chicken, to enhance the flavor.
Pesto Pasta Recipe
- 1 lb pasta
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 3 cloves of garlic
- ½ cup parmesan cheese grated
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a quick boil. According to the packet directions, add and cook the pasta until al dente.
- While the pasta is cooking, prepare the pesto. Combine the basil, pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan cheese in a food processor or blender. Pulse until the ingredients are finely chopped.
- With the food processor on, slowly pour the olive oil until the pesto is smooth. Now, season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Drain the pasta and place it back in the pot. Add the pesto and toss until the pasta is evenly coated.
- Serve hot, garnished with extra parmesan cheese and a sprig of fresh basil.
This recipe can be custom tailored by adding your favorite ingredients or toppings. Here are some ideas:
- Add some protein: Grilled chicken, shrimp, or tofu can be added to the pasta for a more filling meal.
- Try different nuts: Substitute pine nuts with walnuts, almonds, or cashews for a different flavor.
- Use other herbs: Basil can be substituted with parsley, cilantro, or even arugula for a different taste.
- Get creative with toppings: Cherry tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or olives can all be added to the pasta for some extra flavor.
Pesto pasta is a classic dish that is always a crowd-pleaser. It’s easy to make, delicious and can be customized to your liking. Whether you’re cooking for one or feeding your friends, this recipe will surely be a favorite.
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