Pasta with Pesto

by Susan Hanna

Whether it’s from the farmers’ market, the supermarket or your own back yard, there’s nothing like a big bunch of fragrant basil. While this wonderful herb is at its peak, whip up this luscious pesto from Bon Appetit to freeze or use right away as a pasta sauce.

serves 4

Avoiding Additives and Preservatives

Make sure the pine nuts do not contain additives and the butter contains only cream, with no colour added. Genuine Parmesan is additive-free. For more recipes using all-natural ingredients, visit Eye For a Recipe.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup (125 ml) pine nuts
  • 3 oz. (85 g) Parmesan, grated (about ¾ cup/185 ml)
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely grated
  • 6 cups (4.5 L) basil leaves (about 3 bunches)
  • ¾ cup (185 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. (5 ml) kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. (30 ml) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ¼ cup (60 ml) pasta cooking liquid
  • 12 oz. (340 g) dried spaghetti or other long pasta
  • Grated Parmesan for serving

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (177° C). Toast pine nuts on a rimmed baking sheet, tossing once halfway through, until golden brown, 5–7 minutes.
  2. Transfer to a food processor and let cool. Add cheese and garlic and pulse until finely ground, about 1 minute.
  3. Add basil and place the top back on. With the motor running, add oil in a slow and steady stream until pesto is mostly smooth, with just a few flecks of green, about 1 minute. Season with salt.
  4. Do Ahead: Pesto can be made 1 day ahead. Top with ½” oil to prevent browning. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface, and chill. You can also freeze it.
  5. Cook 12 oz. dried pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving ½ cup (125 ml) pasta cooking liquid.
  6. Place pesto and 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) unsalted butter, cut into pieces, in a large bowl. Add pasta and ¼ cup (60 ml) pasta cooking liquid. Using tongs, toss vigorously, adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until pasta is glossy and well coated with sauce. Season with salt.
  7. Divide pasta among bowls. Top with finely grated Parmesan.

From Bon Appetit