Pesto Pasta

Summer means I am in the mood for fresh-tasting foods. My basil plant got kind of sad while I was gone (no water, lots of sun) so I had to buy some basil from the store to make this dish. One thing I did not have to buy was pine nuts, surprisingly. You can actually use other nuts instead of pine nuts, so I substituted some hazelnuts that had been sitting around (and I had the exact amount, too–talk about good luck!).

This is an easy throw-together dish, assuming you have the ingredients. For pesto, you can make different substitutions and just get different flavor profiles. I decided to stick with the basic basil for my greenery, but you could use other herbs or even something like spinach.

This recipe makes plenty of pesto for 1/2 pound pasta.

Directions for Pesto Pasta

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese (I used Parmesan)
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts (mine were pre-roasted when I bought them, but I don’t think it matters)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Boil your water to make your pasta. You can start the pesto as the water is getting close to boiling. Cook the pasta as directed. When you drain the pasta, reserve about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the pasta water (I just poured it into my pesto bowl).

In a food processor (I had to use the small bowl attachment), blend together the garlic, olive oil, and hazelnuts.

After the nuts are mostly ground and the mixture is fairly smooth, add in the basil and rosemary, mixing again.

Stir in the lemon juice and cheese.

After adding the pasta water to the pesto, stir it again and then toss with the pasta. Top the pasta with more cheese, and if desired, you can also saute some mushrooms and tomatoes to stir in.

Bonus Mushroom and Tomato recipe:

  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms (you can add more)
  • Chopped onion (the dried kind, but feel free to use fresh and start them before the mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

For the mushrooms and tomatoes, I started with heating some oil in a medium saucepan. As the oil heats up a bit, stir in the mushrooms and chopped onion, coating them with the oil.

I cooked the mushrooms from when I first started boiling water for the pasta. Once the mushrooms were browned, I moved them to the side and placed the tomatoes in the pan, cut side down. Let them stay in one spot.

After a few minutes, just before you are ready to add to the pasta, stir together the mushrooms and tomatoes.

Directions for Pesto Pasta without pictures

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/3 cup grated cheese (I used Parmesan)
  • 1/4 cup hazelnuts (mine were pre-roasted when I bought them, but I don’t think it matters)
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Boil your water to make your pasta. You can start the pesto as the water is getting close to boiling. Cook the pasta as directed. When you drain the pasta, reserve about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the pasta water (I just poured it into my pesto bowl).

In a food processor (I had to use the small bowl attachment), blend together the garlic, olive oil, and hazelnuts. After the nuts are mostly ground and the mixture is fairly smooth, add in the basil and rosemary, mixing again. Stir in the lemon juice and cheese.

After adding the pasta water to the pesto, stir it again and then toss with the pasta. Top the pasta with more cheese, and if desired, you can also saute some mushrooms and tomatoes to stir in.

Bonus Mushroom and Tomato recipe:

  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms (you can add more)
  • Chopped onion (the dried kind, but feel free to use fresh and start them before the mushrooms)
  • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half

For the mushrooms and tomatoes, I started with heating some oil in a medium saucepan. As the oil heats up a bit, stir in the mushrooms and chopped onion, coating them with the oil. I cooked the mushrooms from when I first started boiling water for the pasta. Once the mushrooms were browned, I moved them to the side and placed the tomatoes in the pan, cut side down. Let them stay in one spot. After a few minutes, just before you are ready to add to the pasta, stir together the mushrooms and tomatoes.

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