Pesto Pasta - dummies

By Suzanne Havala

Pesto is best in the summertime when basil is fresh and you can make a batch of pesto from scratch. Pesto is a snap to make and will fill your kitchen — and maybe your whole house — with the wonderful aroma of fresh basil. If you don’t have pine nuts on hand, you can substitute walnuts in your pesto recipe.

[Credit: PhotoDisc, Inc.]
Credit: PhotoDisc, Inc.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes or less for pasta

Yield: 6 servings (about 1 cup)

Fresh basil leaves

4 cloves garlic

4 tablespoons, plus 1/3 cup pine nuts

6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese or a combination of Parmesan and Romano cheeses, plus extra for garnish

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/3 cup olive oil

1 pound fettuccine or other pasta

6 cherry tomatoes and several sprigs parsley for garnish

  1. Chop the basil leaves until you have 3 cups chopped.

  2. Place the 3 cups basil, garlic, 4 tablespoons pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper in a blender or food processor.

  3. Process until well blended and smooth.

  4. Dribble in the olive oil and continue processing until the mixture is the consistency of a smooth paste.

  5. In a large pot, cook the pasta according to package instructions.

  6. Drain the pasta.

  7. Combine the pesto, 1/3 cup pine nuts, and pasta in the pot or in a large bowl and toss until the pasta is well coated.

    Use more or less pesto, according to your preference (a ratio of about 3/4 cup pesto to 1 pound pasta is typical).

  8. Add a few tablespoons of hot water to the pesto to thin it, if necessary.

  9. Garnish with cherry tomato halves and parsley, and serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese.

Per serving: Calories 337 (From fat 126); Fat 14g (Saturated 3g); Cholesterol 79mg; Sodium 75mg; Carbohydrate 43g (Dietary fiber 3g); Protein 11g.