Pesto with Pasta

Sometimes it’s the simple things that “Foodies” fight about the most!  Pesto is one of those simple things we so often make complicated…

Pesto – this is 1/2 recipe, about a cup

Pesto – this is 1/2 recipe, about a cup

The big, secret trick to Pesto?  Make it how you like it; thick or thin, with more pine nuts, with less, with garlic or not. You can’t go wrong if you make it how you like it. Just use the best ingredients you can.

Personally, I like mine thick for a number of reasons:

  • If I toss it with other ingredients, Pesto can thin out quickly
  • When I freeze, it doesn’t take up too much room
  • If I want it thinner, it’s a cinch to thin out with olive oil or water

Some say to make pesto only by hand with a mortar and pestle, other only use a knife and never a blender or food processor. Personally, I love using the food processor for pesto .

A store-bought Pesto costs about $4.99 for a seven ounce (about a cup) container, so if you were buying as much as this recipe costs, you’d be spending about 10 bucks.

Grow your own herbs, in the yard or in a pot…it’s so much better and a huge cost savings. This pesto, using my basil, grocery store olive oil and Parmesan ran $1.72.

Add as much or as little as you’d like to a pound of high quality pasta to make a fantastic, fresh meal for your family. Thin it out for an awesome Salad Dressing, or try this family fave: Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables.

Home-made Pesto

  • Servings: about 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (pignolia)
  • 1 dash salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese grated

Add basil, pine nuts, salt and pepper to food processor, while pulsing, drizzle in olive oil.  Scrape down sides.  Add cheese and about 2 to 3 more times.  If too thick, add a little olive oil or even a bit of water.

Should keep in fridge for a couple days and freezes very well.

from the kitchen of

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my Strategies – You’ll see them all explained on the upper left tab of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read Strategies Applied for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Put Your own Spin on It:

  • There are probably as many variations on Pesto as there are families that make it – add some hot pepper flakes, add other herbs (parsley, cilantro, etc.) Vary your cheeses…vary your nuts.  I’ve seen Broccoli pesto, Radish, Spinach and Squash pesto…heck, just go wild!
  • Don’t stop with using Pesto on your Pasta (say that three times fast!) but check out Food Network’s 50 ways to use Pesto.

Hearing from you makes my day! Comment below.

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