Pesto Pasta is a delicious easy to make, main entrée loaded up with cheese, pine nuts, olive oil, and fabulous fresh basil flavor.
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.
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
- 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:
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
- 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:
- Cooked Chicken Breasts
- Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Fresh Tomatoes
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.
More Pasta Recipes
- Spaghetti Squash with Turkey Bolognese
- Tomato Basil Pasta
- Pomodoro Pasta
- Pasta Carbonara
- Spaghetti Sauce
Easy Pesto Pasta Recipe
- 1 pound homemade or dried linguine
- 1/3 recipe for pesto
- pecorino Romano for garnish
- sea salt and pepper to taste
- 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.
- 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.