My basil plants are really taking off with all the rain we’ve been experiencing. So, while the rain has put a damper on our outdoor summer plans, there is an upside … I’ve had an opportunity to whip up extra batches of pesto! My favorite way to use this versatile sauce is in the following Pasta and Basil Pesto recipe. For several years, I’ve been using the original recipe from The Silver Palate cookbook. I’ve made just a few modifications to suit our family. My boys, young and old, always are excited when they find out we’re having “green pasta” for dinner!
What I love most about this recipe is how it turns out perfectly every single time I make it. Amazingly, the basil never turns brown or looks unappetizing; additionally, the proportions of basil to olive oil and cheese are spot on. All in all, it’s foolproof. And, of course, it tastes great! Typically, one batch makes about 2 cups. I use 1 cup for pasta and freeze the other cup for future use.
For this recipe, I like using a big serving bowl and mixing the pesto with the pasta, half-and-half and hot water. Mix all the ingredients thoroughly to make sure everything is fully incorporated. Serve with additional parmesan cheese at the table, if desired. Looking to increase your vegetable intake? Add 1 cup of cooked peas. The sweet pea flavor blends nicely with the savory taste of the pesto.
In addition, this sauce works great with chicken breasts, on sandwiches and burgers as well as pizza and salads. When I’m not serving it with pasta, I enjoy using it for baked chicken. Just mix the pesto with chicken breasts and bake. Top with tomatoes, parmesan and fresh basil – yum! Hmmm … maybe I just stumbled upon another future blog post!
Pasta with Basil Pesto
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1 to 2 garlic cloves
- 1 cup olive oil
- 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup whipping cream or half-and-half
- 1 cup pesto
- 2 T hot pasta water
- 1 lb. cooked pasta of your choice
- In food processor pulse basil, walnuts and garlic. Add olive oil in a slow stream.
- Add cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Blend thoroughly.
- Mix whipping cream or half-and-half, 1 cup pesto and water with pasta and serve.