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Basil Pesto is delightfully simple to make and makes a nice alternative to a heavier tomato-based sauce. I figured out how to make pesto when my basil plant decided to take over my aerogarden. A year later, it is the only plant to survive 😬.
I recently accidentally grew more Basil (cuttings in water may grow roots🌱) so this recipe has jumped into our regular meal rotation. Basically whenever he needs a trim I make pesto.
This basil pesto is pretty versatile and can be used with gnocchi, rotini, tortellini, spaghetti- any of your favorite pastas. I try to use gluten free pastas or ones made with veggies. I’ve even made this with spaghetti squash.
Before we begin, get your cooking tunes ready. I’d suggest starting with Pavarotti singing Nessun Dorma to get you feeling Italian.
Here’s What You’ll Need:
- 1/2 Cup Toasted Pine Nuts
- 4 Cups Fresh Basil
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne
- 1/8 tsp turmeric
- a couple shakes of black pepper
- 3/4 Cup Shredded Parmesan
- 3 oz Olive Oil
Prep Those Pine Nuts
Toast 1/2 Cup Pine Nuts in a dry skillet on medium heat. Make sure to stir them frequently. You’ll notice a nice, nutty aroma as they toast. Once golden remove from heat and let cool. Keep a close eye on these bad boys so they don’t burn.
Add cooled pine nuts to a food processor. Pulse until finely ground. You might have to scrape down the sides, but be very careful with those sharp blades!
Time for Basil
Add 4 Cups fresh basil, 1 1/2 tsp garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp cayenne, and 1/8 tsp turmeric and a pinch of black pepper. Pulse to combine. Again, you may have to scrape down the sides a little.
A Couple Tips-
For the basil, you can include thin, tender stems but don’t add the thicker ones.
Cayenne and Turmeric don’t add much flavor, but if you like a bit of kick then you can add more cayenne. I like their health benefits and anti-inflammatory properties so I add them in.
Time for Cheese
Add 3/4 cup of shredded Parmesan to the food processor and pulse to combine.
I’ve used grated Parmesan when we didn’t have shredded and it also worked well. Use what works for you.
I sometimes add a full cup of Parmesan, because cheese is delish. So if extra just happens to slip in… you won’t hear me complain.
Add the Oil
Drizzle in 3 oz. Olive oil a little at a time and pulse to combine, scraping down the sides as needed.
I try to use the minimum amount of oil necessary, in favor of a thicker pesto, but you can add more if needed.
Combine with your pasta
I hope you’ve decided what you’re using your pesto with at this point. There are so many great options!
I used 2 packages of tortellini and still had extra pesto. I think these ones were from Aldi.
Spoon a little of the basil pesto in the bottom of a mixing bowl then add your cooked pasta. Add another spoonful of pesto and mix with spoon or tongs.
It’s great if the pasta is still warm because that helps the pesto spread and make a nice coating.
As you mix, add more pesto one spoonful at a time until your pasta is coated as desired.
Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan and enjoy!
Add Some Meatballs
Because it’s not a complete meal without protein according to hubby, we added these Italian-Style Meatballs from Target.
They cooked really fast in the microwave making them an easy and yummy addition to this dish.
I love making food from scratch because it gives me control of the ingredients, but sometimes ya need something fast and easy. (No shame in that, we’ve all been there.)
If you have some fresh basil just begging to be used, this is a great recipe to try.
By going a little lighter with the oil it keeps the dish lighter so it doesn’t weigh heavily in the tummy. I mean, if you eat a little too much because you’re such an amazing cook then it might sit a little heavier. But that’s on you, you magnificent culinary creator!
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 4 cups fresh basil
- 1½ tsp garlic minced
- ½ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp cayenne
- ⅛ tsp turmeric
- black pepper
- ¾ cup shredded Parmesan
- 3 oz olive oil
- Toast 1/2 Cup Pine Nuts in a dry skillet on medium heat. Once golden remove from heat and let cool.
- Add cooled pine nuts to a food processor. Pulse until finely ground.
- Add fresh basil, garlic, salt, cayenne, and turmeric. Pulse to combine. You may have to scrape down the sides a little.
- Add the shredded Parmesan to the food processor and pulse to combine.
- Drizzle in Olive oil and pulse to combine, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Spoon a little of the basil pesto in the bottom of a mixing bowl then add your cooked pasta. Add another spoonful of pesto and mix, adding pesto one spoonful at a time until pasta is coated as desired.
- Top with a sprinkle of Parmesan and enjoy!
- Refrigerate any leftover pesto so you can use it later in the week.
Have you tried Pesto before? What else do you like to eat it with? Let me know in the comments!
Hi, my name is Katy. I started this blog to help you infuse life with ease and joy by sharing recipes and tips for your fertility and lifestyle.
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