Pesto is all things right with the world! Good cheese, garlic, nuts, olive oil, and basil. I remember when I first tried making pesto. I was in college and had recently discovered Pinterest! It probably wasn’t the best way to spend my time, but I was an education major…I needed it for “teaching ideas.”
One day while I was looking for lesson plan ideas (of course), I stumbled upon a drool worthy stuffed chicken pesto shell recipe. It is a fantastic recipe and on my husband’s favorite meals list. There was just one small problem, I was a poor college student and really didn’t want to pay $5-$10 for one jar of pesto. I heard Joey’s voice (from Friends) in my head “There’s gotta be a better way!” So the journey of making pesto started. Did I mention that I also used an As Seen on TV Manual Food Processor to mix all the ingredients? Just click the link and imagine my pain.
(Geez get to the recipe already)
This recipe was inspired by the incredible What’s Cookin, Chicago?
This is what you’ll need for your Pesto Pasta Party!
For the Pesto:
2 cups of packed basil
3-4 cloves of garlic (I don’t think you can ever have TOO much garlic)
The juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 cup of grated Parmesan
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 oz package of pine nuts, pecans, or walnuts (walnuts are cheaper than pine nuts and I actually prefer the taste)
Salt and pepper to taste (You freshly crack your black pepper, right?)
For the Pasta:
1 lb of the pasta of your choice (my go-to is farfalle – prettier and a better texture for pesto)
2 oz of cream cheese … or more – it only gets better (this isn’t how you make traditional pesto pasta but it is how you make a pesto party… in your mouth!)
1. Put the basil, garlic, cheese, nuts, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend until nearly smooth. You may have to stop and scrape the sides of your choppy machine and then continue blending. All that yumminess tends to stick to the sides! Then salt and pepper to taste!
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil on high heat. Yes, it’s absolutely important to salt your water first. It really does make a huge difference. Boil your pasta to al dente. Drain the pasta.
Fun Fact: al dente means, “to the tooth.” You want your pasta to have a slight resistance when you bite into it! TIL (that’s Today I Learned, Mom. Thanks for reading. Love you!)
3. Mix in 8 Tbs of your pesto mixture and the 2 oz of cream cheese in your pasta. The cream cheese just does magical things when it combines with the pesto and the warm noodles.
4. Save the rest of that pesto in your fridge! It will keep for a week or two. You can make this meal again (it’s totally OK in my book to be a meal repeater), or your could put it on a pizza, or toast, or anything and everything! The possibilities are endless!
Here is the printable version of the recipe: Pesto Pasta Recipe
Let me know if you try this recipe or if you have another way to enjoy your pesto! And if I don’t see you: good afternoon, good evening, and goodnight! Quick! Name that movie! If you guess correctly, I’ll give you a free recipe for pesto pasta! 😉