There has to be a reason that pasta is as popular as a dish on the dinner table. Is it because you can pair it with anything and it is a gourmet meal? Is it because it is easy to prepare and quick to season to perfection? How about the fact that even the pickiest of eaters tend to enjoy a plate of piping hot, carbohydrate-filled goodness? It’s all of these reasons and more!
We all love pasta and we love learning pasta recipes which is why today we are checking out this super easy, super fast, and super tasty Pesto Pasta noodle dish!
Homemade Pasta or Store-Bought?
Store-bought pasta is always good in a pinch or when you are just too tired after all day (or week) to even contemplate making your own. You won’t lose any taste per say in your dish but it goes without saying that homemade pasta is going to be fresher, crunchier, and healthier in the long run.
Store-bought pasta? Will be thicker and firmer even after boiling so if that’s the consistency (and texture) you are aiming for; use a store-bought batch.
However, if you don’t have the time or a batch of homemade pasta on hand – don’t sweat it! There is a reason that pasta is also sold in the grocery stores; because it does work for any pasta dish you are thinking of making, including this one.
What is Pesto? Is it Healthy?
Pesto is a topping or sauce that is paired with numerous food dishes from pasta to pizza. It originated in Italy (where pasta is royalty and reigns supreme) and its basic form consists of basil, garlic, and olive oil. Variations do exist with other ingredients, such as sundried tomato or red peppers, but the basic three remain the same each time.
Pesto is quite healthy when prepared correctly as it contains high amounts of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, calcium, and iron. Vitamin A helps the body maintain its physical condition, Vitamin C helps the body boost the immune system, calcium aids in the development and maintenance of strong bones, and iron enriches the blood while preventing fatigue and other ailments.
All of the calories and “fats” in pesto sauce actually comes from unsaturated fats – which have been deemed healthy fats that support heart health and lowers blood pressure. These reasons is why numerous people tend to switch out mayonnaise, and other condiments with pesto.
Ingredients to make the pesto sauce:
- 2 cups fresh basil
- ½ cup pine nuts or walnuts
- 2 large garlic cloves
- ½ cup olive oil
- ½ cup fresh parmesan cheese, grated
- Salt and pepper to taste – optional, only if desired
How To Make Pesto Sauce:
Step 1: combine ingredients
Process the dry ingredients. Using a food processor, toss the basil, nuts, and garlic into the storage container.
Step 2: Blend
Blend all of these ingredients together using the “pulse” setting for approximately 3 to 4 minutes or until all ingredients are blended to form a coarse paste. If your food processor doesn’t have a pulse setting, use a lower speed until you see all items starting to break up and blend. Once that happens, up the speed to medium to high and create the paste.
Continue to pulse the processor until all ingredients are combined but remember – you do not want a smooth and creamy paste but a chunky one.
Step 3: Finish with Cheese and Olive Oil
Drizzle the olive oil into the coarse paste and proceed to blend the mixture together until it’s creamy and smooth. You want the rough pieces to get coated in the olive oil and then blend together for flavouring (which is why you can’t have it smooth in the first step).
The blending of the coarse paste and olive oil ensures that the olive oil is evenly distributed through the mixture.
Once smooth, add in the fresh parmesan cheese.
Using the pulse setting, continued hitting the button at small intervals until the mixture is well combined and maintaining its smooth consistency.
Step 4: prep pasta
Boil water on the stove in a medium-sized saucepan, adding salt and/or butter to the water if desired. Prepare your chosen pasta as per the instructions on the packaging.
The reason that no type of pasta was listed in the ingredient list was because this recipe pairs with any type – penne, linguine, egg noodles, fettucine noodles – the final decision is yours to make!
Once the pasta is prepared, drain the water off and toss immediately with the pesto sauce. Let the sauce coat each noodle and if necessary, use a spoon to stir the sauce to the bottom of the pot.
Serve immediately and enjoy!
Pair this recipe with freshly baked baguettes and fresh butter
Can be used as a side dish when paired with a meat dish – just make sure the meat is lean without a lot of seasonings or marinades as the pasta can be heavy on its own for the stomach.