Easy recipe for pasta with pesto

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This pesto pasta recipe is a delicious quick and easy summer recipe! It can be served as a main dish or garnish, and you can enjoy it hot or cold! Complete instructions on how to make your own basil pesto are included, or you can make it even easier and use store-bought.

One of the things I like most about summer is the abundance of fresh herbs, especially basil! This pesto pasta recipe (also known as pesto pasta) is a great way to use all the delicious fresh basil that grows in your garden and is available at the farmer's market! It's an easy weekday meal that the whole family will love!

This pesto paste requires making your own pesto sauce, but don't let that intimidate you! It's really easy and it only takes 5 minutes to prepare the homemade pesto! Mix it with your favorite pasta, add some toasted pine nuts and voila, you'll have a fresh and delicious meal or garnish ready in 20 minutes!

How is pasta made with pesto?

This pesto pasta is very easy to make, you can even make your own pesto sauce!

Cooking pasta

I recommend starting this pesto pasta recipe by cooking the pasta! Boiling a pot of water takes longer than preparing homemade pesto sauce. So you want that to work right away!

Use salt water

Always cook pasta in salted water! Add a lot of flavor to the overall flavor of this pasta recipe to pesto!

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Do not rinse

Another important tip when making this pesto pasta recipe is to make sure do not rinse Pasta! Sometimes I drizzle it with a little olive oil to minimize stickiness, but the sticky paste is in this case because it helps the pesto sauce stick and soak the noodles.

Keep it warm

Return the drained pasta to the pot it was cooked in and cover it with a lid to keep it warm for serving!

Making homemade pesto sauce

As I said earlier, making pesto sauce is so quick and easy! However, if you're in trouble, you can always use store-bought pesto sauce! For the sake of this recipe, I will assume you want to make your own pesto, and I will follow suit with you!

Roasted pine nuts

Start making pesto by toasting the pine nuts. Note that pine nuts can go from light golden brown to burnt very quickly. Since pine nuts are an expensive ingredient, you need to make sure to watch them closely and stir them every 30 seconds, so they don't burn. It should take 4 to 5 minutes to toast them.

Put some pine nuts aside

Once they are toasted, transfer the pine nuts from the warm skillet to a small baking sheet or skillet to cool. Set aside 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts to serve in the pesto paste, and use the other 1/4 cup to mix the sauce. Don't skip this side dish, the crunch of toasted pine nuts in the final pesto pasta dish is my favorite part!

Blend fresh basil and olive oil

While the pine nuts are cooling, mix the olive oil and fresh basil until well combined but not completely smooth. You can also use a food processor and you will get equally delicious results!

Blend the remaining ingredients

Next, add ┬╝ cup pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and mix until it reaches the desired consistency. You may need to pause, scrape down the sides of the container, and continue blending depending on the size of the smoothie container.

Choose the desired consistency.

Some people like their pesto sauce a little thick, others like it mild. The best thing about making your own homemade pesto is that they are in charge and can choose! Since I'm feeding the kids and I'm weird with the texture, I like to mix our basil pesto until it's almost smooth!

Make the pasta with the pesto!

Now is the time to make the pesto pasta! Since the pasta has cooked and should be lukewarm, simply add the pesto sauce, garnish with toasted pine nuts and tomatoes (if desired), and serve.

Should the pesto be heated?

You should not heat the pesto sauce as it will change the color, flavor, and texture of fresh basil. So I recommend keeping the pasta warm. The pasta itself will "heat" the pesto without changing its composition!

Can I eat cold pesto pasta?

You can serve this pasta hot or cold! To serve it cold, just keep it in the refrigerator until it cools down.


Once the pesto sauce is mixed with the warm pasta, add toasted pine nuts and serve. Don't skip those 2 extra tablespoons of toasted pine nuts, they really make this dish special!

There are many ways to enjoy this pesto pasta, and many dishes that complement it well! Here are some suggestions!

Serving / Decorating Tips

  • Chopped fresh basil
  • Fresh parmesan cheese
  • Raw or roasted baby tomatoes
  • Add some balsamic roasted vegetables (I do this often)!
  • Top with grilled chicken, salmon, etc.

Basil pesto sauce: ingredients and substitutions

Let's talk about the ingredients used in this basil pesto recipe, as well as possible substitutions. As, the quality of the ingredients used to make this pesto sauce will determine the quality of the final product.

Which pasta is better with pesto?

I really enjoy using thick spaghetti noodles (Bucatini) in this pesto pasta recipe! However, the sky is the limit with the paste you can use! Here are some suggestions:

  • Spaghetti noodles: As I said, bucatini is my favorite. But angel hair, tagiatelle, linguini, etc.
  • Pasta in shape: bow ties (also known as Farfalle), rigatoni, fusilli, wheels (rotelle), etc.
  • Chickpea paste It's a great gluten-free option!
  • Use zucchini noodles (or any other vegetarian noodles) for a vegetarian version.

Pesto sauce

  • Fresh basil I do not recommend making fresh basil substitutions as it will dramatically affect the final flavor. However, in case of need (when I don't have enough basil), I sometimes substitute half of the basil with fresh spinach, but never all.
  • Olive oil. The taste of a high quality olive oil will really shine in this pesto recipe. I recommend using the best olive oil you have available, as it will give this pesto sauce a rich flavor. You can also use flavored olive oils (like garlic, herbs, etc.) just make sure it supplements the basil. Another neutral oil such as avocado oil could also be used.
  • Pinions. Pine nuts are key to making a classic pesto recipe, and should not be substituted if you are looking for a 100% authentic flavor. If necessary, you can try using other nuts such as walnuts, walnuts, or almonds.
  • Minced garlic. Fresh roasted garlic is also amazing in this pesto recipe! If you have picky eaters, you can also try using a small amount of garlic powder.
  • Parmesan. Again, the quality of the Parmesan cheese used will make a difference in the final flavor of this pesto sauce. I recommend freshly grated Parmesan for the best flavor!
  • Salt pepper. I always cook with sea salt and freshly ground pepper! I recommend starting with a small amount of salt, trying, and then adjusting to your liking!

Pesto pasta recipe

This pesto pasta recipe is a delicious quick and easy summer recipe! It can be served as a main dish or garnish, and you can enjoy it hot or cold! Complete instructions on how to make your own basil pesto are included, or you can make it even easier and use store-bought. Preparation time: 10 minutes Cook time: 10 minutes Total time: 20 minutes Servings: 10 Servings: Calories: 257kcal


  • Vitamix blender
  • Food processor


Homemade pesto sauce:

  • 2 cups basil
  • ┬╝ cup roasted pine nuts toasted
  • 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  • 1 ┬Ż tablespoons minced garlic
  • ┬Ż cup of Parmesan cheese
  • ┬Ż teaspoon of salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon of pepper


  • Water with salt
  • 16 oz spaghetti bucatini (or your favorite pasta)
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • Fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese, etc. Optional trimmings


Cook pasta:

  • Cook pasta according to package directions, be sure to use salted water.
  • Drain (do not rinse), return to dry pot, cover with lid and set aside.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the homemade pesto sauce:

  • Heat the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium heat, stir once you notice they begin to brown. Once they begin to brown, the process happens quickly, so watch carefully and remove from heat once all nuts are toasted (about 5 minutes), and let cool.
  • Reserve 2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts to serve.
  • Put olive oil and basil leaves in the bowl of a Vitamix (or other high-powered blender). Blend for about 60 seconds until the ingredients combine but are not completely smooth. You may need to pause, scrape down the sides, and then continue mixing.
  • Add ┬╝ cup pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper and mix or process until desired consistency is reached (approximately 30-60 seconds). You may need to pause, scrape down the sides, and then continue mixing.
  • Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as desired, press to combine.

Put it together:

  • Transfer the warm pasta to a serving plate.
  • Add homemade pesto sauce and stir into pasta until evenly distributed.
  • Sprinkle with the remaining roasted pine nuts!
  • Add tomatoes and fresh basil if desired.
  • Serve warm or transfer to the refrigerator to chill and serve cold.


Serving: 0.5g | Calories :: 257kcal | Carbohydrates: 35 g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 3mg | Sodium: 200mg | Potassium: 149mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 292IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 78mg | Iron: 1 mg

These are some of our favorite pasta dishes:

  • The cheese sausage gnocchi is repeated around here.
  • This pizza casserole is one of my family's favorite foods!
  • This tomato and zucchini pasta sauce is a great sauce to use in this recipe!
  • And I can't forget this creamy avocado paste!
  • This baked tortellini is very cozy and comforting!

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