Using Italian Pesto with your Pasta

Every so often there are days we just want something different.   Maybe we want pasta but a red sauce just isn’t what we are in the mood for.   So what does one do?

Well, besides calling up family members asking what they are having for dinner, I remind myself there are other ways to prepare pasta than with my homemade marinara sauce.   This should not be a problem for me as I can tell other people ways to prepare it when they asked.   Funny thing is how we always seem to have the answers for other people, but not for ourselves.

In this post I will address a possible solution for you.   Pesto.

When do you use pesto?

Ideally you would have made some during the summer months with fresh basil, pine nuts etc. and frozen a batch in the freezer.  But in the off chance you didn’t (like me), you can easily make some.   Do you have to use pine nuts?  No.  There are different ways to make it.
A basic pesto involves lots of olive oil, Parmesan or Romano grated cheese, some garlic and chopped basil.   I don’t have specific quantities because when I make it I just eyeball it until I think it looks like a nice pesto-like paste.  I do the blending with a food processor.  I promise to measure next time I make it.

How do you use Pesto?

Now that you have the pesto, cook the pasta like you normally would.  I typically use long thin pasta for this application, but ravioli or tortellini can be excellent choices too.   I also add in a little bit of olive oil to the boiling water if I am concerned that my pasta may stick together for a lack of sauce.   Drain the pasta but reserve some of the cooking water off to the side.

Mix together the pesto and the pasta.  If you find the pasta is too dry, use some of the reserved water to add moisture.   There are two reasons for using the cooking water rather than fresh water.  One, the cooking water is warm, not cold therefore won’t turn your pasta into a cold mess.  Two, the cooking water has the flavor of the pasta and is less likely to dilute the pasta or pesto flavor as using fresh water would.

Lastly, Sprinkle the pasta with some grated cheese and eat to your hearts delight.   Of course remember to try and balance your carbs with some protein and a nice fresh salad.

Mangia Bene!

Liz

Easy Italian Recipes

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