By Suzanne Havala

This vegetarian recipe makes about double the amount of pesto that you will use for a pound of pasta. Store the leftover pesto in an airtight container for one week in the refrigerator, or freeze it in a small jar or airtight plastic bag for several months.

Pesto is a sauce that’s traditionally made with basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, and olive oil. This dish 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.

When you can’t make your own pesto, you can substitute ready-made pesto from the supermarket and have dinner ready in minutes.

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Fatman73]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Fatman73

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 10 minutes or less for pasta

Yield: 6 servings (about 1 cup)

3 cups chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed

4 cloves garlic

4 tablespoons 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

1/3 cup pine nuts

6 cherry tomatoes and several sprigs parsley for garnish

  1. Place the basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and black pepper in a blender or food processor.

    Process until well blended and smooth, and then dribble in the olive oil and continue processing until the mixture is the consistency of a smooth paste.

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

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

  4. Serve immediately with grated Parmesan cheese. Garnish with cherry tomato halves and parsley.

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