Presto Pesto Pasta

LAST UPDATED: Apr 08, 2020 | PUBLISHED: Mar 30, 2020 | By: Julie Blanner

You can whip up this amazing Pesto Pasta recipe in minutes! Make a quick and easy fresh pesto sauce for your pasta, or take a pantry shortcut using jarred pesto. Regardless, it’s a surefire success!

A white plate full of pesto pasta, gold fork to the side.

Whether you decide to make this dish using fresh pesto or a shortcut jar of store bought pesto, it will quickly become a favorite dish!

It’s full of robust flavor – perfect for lunch or dinner, and so easy to throw together! There’s nothing like the fragrance of basil in your kitchen, regardless of how you use it.

I love pesto… it’s just the most fresh, vibrant flavor to add to so many things! I’ve shared pesto chicken, pesto aioli, pesto cheese dip, and even a pesto cheeseball!

And when it’s combined with pasta? What could be better! Learn how to make bucatini pasta and an incredibly savory Amatriciana sauce here for more fun pasta dinner ideas.

A white plate full of a pesto pasta recipe, topped in parmesan

With this combination of ingredients and texture, you truly can’t go wrong. Let’s learn how to make this incredibly easy pesto pasta dish for another dinner to add to your menu rotation.

Bonus! This flavorful pasta dish comes in at less than 500 calories per serving… so let’s dig in!

Pesto Pasta Ingredients

  • Pasta – I like to use spaghetti, but angel hair, spirals, rotini and bow tie pasta all work well. Use your favorite shape! You can learn how to make homemade pasta here.
  • Basil – Fresh basil leaves are the foundation for this sauce.A clear jar full of fresh cut stems of green basil.
  • Pine Nuts – Add a mild, sweet and slightly buttery flavor. They are tender and high in fat and make the pesto really silky. You can substitute walnuts if you don’t have any pine nuts on hand.
  • Minced Garlic – No pesto is complete without garlic! Use fresh or minced garlic purchased in the produce section of your grocer for the best flavor.
  • Olive Oil – Use a good quality olive oil, or extra virgin olive oil. It really enhances the flavor.
  • Red Pepper Flakes – To add a little heat (and a hint of color).
  • Parmesan Cheese – Use freshly grated parmesan for the best flavor. You can substitute grana padano or asiago. Even goat cheese offers nice flavor.
  • Salt and Pepper – Freshly cracked and to taste.
A white plate full of a pesto pasta recipe, topped in parmesan

How To Make Pesto Pasta

  1. Prepare Pasta – Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare pasta al dente.
  2. Make the Pesto – Add ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse until it reaches the desired consistency.A clear jar full of bright green fresh pesto
  3. Combine – Reserving one cup of pasta water, strain noodles. Return to pot and toss with sauce. Use desired amount of pasta water to thin, if needed.
  4. Garnish – Top with fresh grated Parmesan, salt and pepper to taste.

Tips for the BEST Pesto Pasta

The Easiest Substitution

  • Store Bought Pesto – Replace basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil with a store bought pesto in this recipe. It won’t be quite as fresh and vibrant, of course, but it will still be bursting with flavor!
A white plate full of pesto pasta, gold fork to the side.

Variations

  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice or zest over the top of the dish.
  • Add cherry tomatoes.

To Store

  • Refrigerate – Store refrigerated up to 3 days in an airtight container.
  • Freeze – Store up to 3 months in an airtight container. Reheat in the oven with a little olive oil to refresh the sauce.
A white plate full of a pesto pasta recipe, topped in parmesan

More Easy Pasta Recipes

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A white plate full of pesto pasta, gold fork to the side.

Pesto Pasta

Julie Blanner
You can whip up this amazing Pesto Pasta recipe in minutes! Make a quick and easy fresh pesto sauce for your pasta, or take a pantry shortcut using jarred pesto. Regardless, it’s a surefire success!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 8 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6
Calories 482 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound pasta
  • 2 cups basil fresh, stems removed
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare pasta al dente.
  • Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and red pepper. Pulse.
  • Reserving 1 cup of pasta water, drain pasta.
  • Toss with pesto, adding pasta water, if desired to thin sauce.
  • Garish with parmesan and salt and pepper to taste.

Video

Notes

Substitutions

  • Store Bought Pesto – Replace basil, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil with store bought pesto.
  • Pine Nuts – No pine nuts? No problem. Walnuts make a great substitute.
  • Minced Garlic – I use store bought minced garlic, but you can replace with 2 garlic cloves.
  • Parmesan – You can substitute with grana padano or asiago. Even goat cheese offers nice flavor.

Variations

  • Add a squeeze of lemon juice or zest over the top of the dish.
  • Add cherry tomatoes.

Nutrition

Calories:482kcalCarbohydrates:58gProtein:12gFat:23gSaturated Fat:4gCholesterol:3mgSodium:73mgPotassium:212mgFiber:3gSugar:2gVitamin A:467IUVitamin C:2mgCalcium:82mgIron:2mg
Keywords pesto pasta
Did you Make This Recipe?Mention @JulieBlanner
Disclosure

mini loaves of bread gift wrapped