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 really can’t go wrong if you make it how you like it…and do use the best ingredients you can afford. I, personally, like to make mine thick so I can use it for many different recipes. I can always thin it a bit with more olive oil if and when I want to if I need it saucier.

Now, I’ve heard people say make Pesto by hand in a mortar and pestle, but I’ve also heard people say that one should only use a knife and never a blender or food processor, or the leaves will be bruised…what ever…I don’t generally have time to chiffonade basil leaves, nor do I own a mezzaluna, so the food processor it is!

A store-bought Pesto costs about $4.99 for a seven ounce (about a cup) container, so around 10 bucks for an equivalent amount of this recipe! Grow your own herbs, in the yard or in a pot…it’s so much better and a huge cost savings.  This pesto, using grocery store olive oil and Parmesan is about $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. Here, I would go for a high-protein pasta. Another favorite way to use Pesto is in my Pesto Pasta Salad with Grilled Vegetables.

Home-made Pesto

  • Servings: about 2 cups
  • Time: 15 min
  • 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, and even 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.

Comments and discussion always welcome - tell me what you think.

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