Homemade pesto pasta is a delightful and versatile dish that brings the vibrant flavors of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese together with perfectly cooked pasta.
This homemade pesto pasta recipe is easy to prepare and can be customized to suit your taste preferences. Whether you’re cooking for a weeknight dinner or hosting a special gathering, homemade pesto pasta is always a crowd-pleaser. Let’s get started!
For the Pesto Sauce:
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (you can also use walnuts or almonds)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional, for a hint of citrus)
For the Pasta:
- 12 ounces (about 340g) of your favorite pasta (spaghetti, linguine, or penne work well)
- Salt, for boiling the pasta
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil leaves
- Cherry tomatoes, halved
- Extra pine nuts
1. Prepare the Pesto Sauce:
In a food processor, add the fresh basil leaves, grated Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, minced garlic, salt, and black pepper.
Pulse the ingredients a few times until they are roughly chopped and combined.
With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the extra-virgin olive oil until the mixture becomes a smooth and creamy pesto sauce.
If desired, add the lemon juice and pulse once more to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning as needed.
2. Cook the Pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the package instructions until it reaches your desired level of doneness (usually 8-12 minutes).
Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
Before draining the pasta, reserve about 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water. This can be used to adjust the sauce consistency later.
3. Combine Pasta and Pesto:
Drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pot.
Add the prepared pesto sauce to the pasta and gently toss until the pasta is evenly coated. If the sauce is too thick, you can add a splash of the reserved pasta cooking water to thin it out.
Transfer the pesto pasta to serving plates or bowls. b. Garnish with additional grated Parmesan cheese, fresh basil leaves, cherry tomatoes, and extra pine nuts if desired.
Serve your homemade pesto pasta hot, and savor the wonderful blend of flavors.
This homemade pesto pasta recipe is sure to become a family favorite. Feel free to customize it by adding grilled chicken, roasted vegetables, or sautéed shrimp for a protein boost or extra veggies. Enjoy your delicious homemade pesto pasta!