With fresh basil growing like crazy in our garden this summer, it’s hard to find ways to use it all. But here’s a really tasty (and easy) way to make a light pasta “sauce” (more of a dressing, really) using fresh basil leaves and a few other ingredients. Best of all, you don’t have to cook anything except the pasta.
2 cups of tightly packed fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. pine nuts
3-4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Pecorino Romano cheese
3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 lb. dried pasta or 1 1/2 lbs. fresh (I like to experiment with various pasta types, although I find that thinner, more delicate pasta shapes work best with pesto. I wouldn’t, for example, use pappardelle, rigatoni, or other thick, heavy pastas.)
Salt, to taste
1. Rinse the basil leaves under cold water or in a salad spinner. Blot the basil dry with paper towels.
2. Place the basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and a pinch of salt into a food processor bowl. Process the mixture until you have a creamy consistency. If the mixture is too dry, add a splash more olive oil and pulse a little more.
3. Empty the basil puree into a bowl.
4. Mix the two cheeses in until thoroughly incorporated. Then, add the softened butter and mix until it is also thoroughly incorporated.
5. Cook pasta to al dente, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and place into a large bowl or onto a big serving plate. I like to add a tablespoon or two of the reserved pasta water to the pesto to thin it out a little, just before serving. Spoon the pesto over the cooked pasta and toss to thoroughly distribute the pesto throughout.
Note: I prefer pasta with pesto at room temperature or lukewarm, not steaming hot. So you can make it a little in advance. It’s even great cold.
FOR MORE RECIPES GO HERE
THIS CONTENT IS FROM UTAH BITES NEWSLETTER.
GET OUR WEEKLY RESTAURANT REVIEWS, TED’S FAVORITE RECIPE AND DRINK OF THE WEEK DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX . TO SIGN UP FOR FREE GO HERE.
Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.
SUPPORT OUR SPONSORS: click on their logos to visit their website