Skip to content

Get 5 Secrets to Make Homemade Taste Food Better + New Recipes Weekly!

    Easy Pesto Pasta Recipe

    Published February 28, 2020. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    Pesto Pasta is a delicious easy to make, main entrée loaded up with cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, and fabulous fresh basil flavor.

    bowl of pesto pasta with parmesan

    If you want a simple weeknight meal that’s flavorful and brings Italy right to your kitchen, then this is for you.  No matter what time of year it is, this is always in season.

    Pasta is a staple in our house, and we use it in a bunch of different ways.  Whether it’s Puttanesca Sauce and Pappardelle, Lasagna Bolognese, or Fettucine Alfredo, it’s always on our menu.

    Can I Just Put Pesto on Pasta

    That is the very essence of this recipe.  Once your noodles are done cooking, you toss it with some basil pesto, with a bit of pasta water, salt, and pepper and you are good to go.  The hot starchy pasta water will help to make a nice sauce and make it looser but still able to coat to each noodle.

    Scroll down to check out my step by step video on how to make this.

    What Is the Ratio of Pesto to Pasta

    Pesto is incredibly flavorful and goes along way.  It can be used in just about anything, from vegetables to a vinaigrette. Here is the ratio that I use:

    • 4 ounces of uncooked pasta to 3 tablespoons of pesto

    What’s the Best Pasta to Use

    This is a little bit subjective, but often the pasta that has a lot of groves like farfalle or fusilli are good because you can get more sauce onto each noodle.  I like:

    • Linguine
    • Fettucine
    • Pappardelle

    pasta with wine and bread

    How Do You Use Pesto

    It can be used in a myriad of ways.  It can be a marinade or used as a sauce to finish off a steak.  Pesto freezes well and will enhance the flavor of just about anything you make.  Here are some ways that I use it:

    • With Pasta
    • Risotto
    • Served Over Chicken, Steak, Pork or Fish
    • Tossed with Vegetables

    Get creative with it; don’t let these ideas limit you.  It’s incredible and so versatile.

    What Goes Well With Pesto Pasta

    There are quite a few things that you can add to your basil pesto pasta to make it stand out, here are some ideas for you:

    Trust me when I say this that this list does not stop here.  As I mentioned before, try adding some of your favorite cheeses, vegetables or proteins to this pasta.

    How to Make It Creamy

    If you want to take this to another level add in a touch of heavy cream or crème Fraiche.  It will add another layer of complexity and provide some fat to this dish as well as giving it a creamy finish.

    Can I Cook the Pasta Ahead of Time

    Yes, you can do this.  My recommendation is to cook it and immediately run it under cold water until cool.  Transfer the chilled noodles to a plastic bag or container and add into 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil and mix until completely coated.  You do this, so the noodles don’t stick together.  Chill up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

    Recipe Chef Notes + Tips

    How to Reheat: Add your desired amount of pesto pasta to a medium size pan and add in 2 -3 tablespoons of hot water and mixer over low heat until hot.

    Make-Ahead: I advise you to keep the pesto and pasta separate if you want to serve it one day ahead of time.

    How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

    Make sure to salt the water once it begins to boil.  The water should taste like the ocean.  I will help keep the pasta moving as well as to season it.

    Do not cook this pasta in a hot pan on the stove as the sauce will break and the basil will separate from the oil and will become very oily.

    Try adding in some vegetables or cooked protein to further enhance the flavor.

    fettuccine pasta with pesto and lemon

    More Pasta Recipes

    Be sure to follow me on FacebookYoutube, Instagram, and Pinterest and if you’ve had a chance to make this then definitely drop me a comment and a rating below!

    Let's Cook - Chef Billy Parisi

    Video

    Easy Pesto Pasta Recipe

    Pesto Pasta is a delicious easy to make main entrée loaded up with cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, and amazing fresh basil flavor.
    Servings: 4
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 5 minutes

    Ingredients 

    • 1 pound homemade or dried linguine
    • 1/3 recipe for pesto
    • pecorino Romano for garnish
    • sea salt and pepper to taste

    Instructions

    • Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling water and cook according to the package instructions. For fresh, 2-3 minutes and dry 8-10 minutes.
    • Drain the pasta and add to a large bowl and place in the pesto along with a 1/3 cup of the pasta water, salt, and pepper and mix until combined.
    • Garnish with fresh shredded pecorino Romano cheese and serve.

    Notes

    Chef Notes:
    • How to Reheat: Add your desired amount of pesto pasta to a medium size pan and add in 2 -3 tablespoons of hot water and mixer over low heat until hot.
    • Make-Ahead: I advise you to keep the pesto and pasta separate if you are wanting to serve it 1 day ahead of time.
    • How to Store: Cover and keep in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
    • Make sure to salt the water once it begins to boil. The water should taste like the ocean. This will help keep the pasta moving as well as to season it.
    • Do not cook this pasta in a hot pan on the stove as the sauce will break and the basil will separate from the oil and will become very oily.
    • Try adding in some vegetables or cooked protein to further enhance the flavor.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 501kcalCarbohydrates: 86gProtein: 16gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 200mgPotassium: 253mgFiber: 4gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 417IUCalcium: 57mgIron: 2mg
    Course: Main
    Cuisine: Italian