★★★★★

Pesto Pasta

Simple and delicious, Pesto Pasta uses fresh basil and garlic for an easy and crowd pleasing dinner. Add some grilled chicken or fish for a complete meal.

White bowl with basil pesto pasta, fresh grated parmesan cheese, and a side of plates and forks.

Right now I have basil bushes growing in my garden. Three of them. I love basil and cook with it often but even for me–It’s a lot of basil.

Lucky for me, this means I have an excuse to make a ton of pesto. Homemade pesto is one of my all time favorite things. Well, that and bruschetta. I served this pesto pasta for dinner last night and it was a big hit! 

Homemade Pesto

I admit that the kids were a little afraid of the overwhelming “green factor” of the pesto pasta at first. Luckily, once they tried it they were sold! They really enjoyed this easy pasta dinner and already asked if I can make it again soon.

It put my garden basil to good use, came together quickly AND my kids liked it? I’d call that a roaring success. 

With my basil plants still going strong, I’m excited to make many more pesto meals in the weeks to come. (I also need to remember to make a Cucumber Tomato Salad and with some of the basil soon!)

The best part about this recipe though, is pesto is so EASY to make. Easy is very important. Especially when school starts, we have homework, sports, and lots of baking occupying our evenings. The last thing I want to do is have to think about what to make for dinner–and spend time preparing it. 

I want my dinners to be easy and hassle free; no fuss required. Of course, they also need to be delicious and kid approved. I know I’m not alone in that! 

You can never have too many easy weeknight dinner recipes to fall back on when life gets busy. I’m excited for you to try this pesto recipe and add it to your list of go-to meals. 

This pesto recipe is garlicky and fragrant with a rich savory flavor from the pine nuts. It’s an ideal summertime meal using herbs straight from the garden, but it’s also more than worth buying a bunch of basil from the store if you don’t grow your own. 

How to Make Pesto 

If you can use a food processor, you can make homemade pesto. Here’s what you need: 

  • olive oil
  • pine nuts
  •  basil leaves
  •  parmesan cheese
  •  garlic
  • salt and pepper

Place everything in the food processor and pulse until combined. Pesto should have a little texture to it so be careful not to puree it! Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if needed. Toss with warm noodles and serve! 

Sometimes the simplest meals are the best; this pasta with pesto is tasty and satisfying just as is. It’s also delicious with the addition of vegetables like steamed or sauteed broccoli, tomato and peas. Throw in some cooked chicken and you have a Chicken Pesto Pasta dinner that’s ready in almost no time at all.

How long does pesto keep? 

Any leftover pesto should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge. It’ll keep for up to 5 days; but it never lasts that long in this house. When I made this recipe, I served the whole batch with our pasta and there wasn’t a single bite leftover. 

Feeding a crowd? Feel free to double the recipe. Depending on the size of your food processor, you may need to make it in two batches to ensure everything gets combined. 

Can you freeze pesto? 

Making pesto to freeze is a great way to store summer flavor from your garden for the colder months. Freeze it in airtight freezer safe bags and let defrost in the fridge before warming when ready to serve. 

You can also freeze pesto in smaller portions by freezing it in ice cube trays. This method means you can remove only what you need for a meal without defrosting an entire batch. 

Pesto

I served this pesto over angel hair pasta. It’s also delicious on spaghetti, penne, bow tie or just about any other kind of noodle you like.

Leftovers, if you have any, make a great lunch the next day. Pesto pasta tastes good served warm or cold, making it a great option to pack into lunch boxes for the office or school.

You can also enjoy this pesto on chicken and fish or as a spread for sandwiches. A bowl of pesto served with crusty fresh bread makes a beautiful appetizer or party snack as well! 

More Easy Dinner Recipes

Yield: serves 6

Pesto Pasta

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes

Simple and delicious, Pesto Pasta uses fresh basil and garlic for an easy and crowd pleasing dinner. Add some grilled chicken or fish for a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cup basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 12 oz angel hair pasta, cooked and drained

Instructions

  1. Cook noodles according to package directions.
  2. Place remaining ingredients in food processor. Process until blended. Serve over warm noodles.
  3. Sprinkle with extra grated parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

6

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 361Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 22gCholesterol: 7mgSodium: 348mgCarbohydrates: 21gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g
*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Recipe originally published August 16, 2011. Photos updated 2020.

Basil, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese come together over pasta for a simple, fresh and flavorful dinner. 

Aimee

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

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Posted on January 24, 2020

Comments & Reviews

  1. YUMMMMMM. I die for pesto! I put it on literally everything and have been searching for a good recipe so I can make pesto pizza at home. Thanks for this, Aimee!

  2. You got my attention with the words “pesto” and “pasta” in the title… as always, it’s a treat to see what you’ve conjured up in your kitchen. 🙂

  3. I have an INSANE amount of basil growing in my backyard! For some reason I didn’t realize that pesto was made with basil, and you just made me so excited to try this recipe!

  4. This looks like a great recipe! Pesto is one of my favorite Italian flavors!

    I just wanted to let you know that today I have posted one of your peanut butter cookie recipes on my blog. I tried it out and loved them! I made sure you let everyone know it was your recipe, too. Thank you!!

    Blessings, Leslie

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