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Homemade Pesto Pasta For An Easy Weeknight Meal

Have you ever thought about making Homemade Pesto Pasta for your family? The sauce of this pasta will make you feel as though you’re at a restaurant. It is super creamy and delicious. 

When you run out of lunch or dinner ideas and can’t figure out what to make, this Pesto Pasta should be put on your list. Sometimes you want to cook, but you don’t want to spend a ton of time making it. Well, this pasta dish is your solution. 

Homemade Pesto Pasta: An Italian Delight Right in Your Kitchen

Ah, pesto pasta—the very mention of it evokes the rustic landscapes of Italy, a country where food is synonymous with love and tradition. This homemade pesto pasta recipe showcases the vibrant green of fresh basil, the nutty goodness of pine nuts or walnuts, and the rich, salty punch of parmesan cheese. Tossed with your favorite pasta, preferably penne in this recipe, it’s a symphony of flavors that takes you on an Italian sojourn without ever leaving your kitchen.


Can I use other nuts besides pine nuts or walnuts?

Absolutely, almonds or cashews can also add a delightful crunch and flavor.

Is the olive oil essential?

Yes, olive oil is crucial for achieving the smooth, luxurious texture of the pesto sauce.

What’s the best pasta to use?

While we recommend penne for its ability to hold onto the sauce, feel free to use other types like spaghetti, fusilli, or fettuccine.

Ingredients to Make Homemade Pesto Pasta

When I say these ingredients are simple, I am not joking. You have probably made pasta dishes before that are a little more complicated. Let’s go through these ingredients, so you know what you need. 

Fresh basil – I am telling you that you will be glad you used fresh basil in this recipe. Using fresh ingredients like this will make you feel as though the meal is 100 times better! 

Pine nuts or walnuts – If you have never added fresh pine nuts or walnuts to a recipe, now is your chance. The flavor is immaculate! 

Garlic cloves – Make sure you add the garlic cloves to the recipe. This is a delicious part of the recipe. 

Olive oil – The olive oil is going to add so much flavor to this recipe. 

Fresh parmesan cheese – Another important ingredient to add to this dish. Everyone loves a good cheese added to the pasta dish. 

The last two ingredients that you are going to add to this meal are salt and pepper. You can add as little or as much as you’d like!

Tips and Tricks

  1. Quality Ingredients: The fresher the basil and the higher quality the olive oil, the better your pesto will taste.
  2. Toasting Nuts: Lightly toasting the nuts in a skillet can elevate the flavor of your pesto.
  3. Pulse, Don’t Puree: When blending the ingredients, pulse a few times to retain some texture.


  1. Vegan Pesto: Substitute the parmesan with nutritional yeast for a dairy-free version.
  2. Zesty Twist: Add the zest of one lemon for a tangier pesto.
  3. Spice It Up: Include a dash of red pepper flakes for a hint of heat.

Where to Serve

This dish is perfect for both casual family dinners and sophisticated dinner parties. It pairs beautifully with a crisp white wine and can be preceded by an Italian appetizer like bruschetta or caprese salad.


The pesto sauce can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or frozen for up to three months. The pasta, however, is best eaten fresh.

Common Problems and How to Avoid Them

  1. Watery Pesto: This can occur if the basil leaves are wet. Make sure to dry them thoroughly before using.
  2. Too Garlicky: Overdoing the garlic can overshadow other flavors. Stick to the recommended amount.
  3. Clumpy Pasta: To avoid pasta clumps, make sure to stir the pasta immediately after adding it to boiling water.

Tips for Making This Recipe with Kids

  1. Leaf Picking: Kids can help by picking the basil leaves off the stems.
  2. Grating Cheese: With supervision, grating parmesan can be both fun and educational.
  3. Mixing: Let the children mix the pesto into the pasta. It’s like a cooking class and a meal all in one!

Topping Options

  1. Fresh Basil Leaves: For a pop of color and extra freshness.
  2. Cherry Tomatoes: Adds sweetness and a burst of color.
  3. Extra Parmesan: Because one can never have too much cheese, right?

Why This Recipe Works

The success of this recipe lies in its simplicity and the quality of its ingredients. The aromatic basil leaves are the star of the dish, supported by the richness of nuts and olive oil. The garlic adds a bite, and the parmesan cheese brings it all together with its salty, umami goodness. The pasta serves as the perfect canvas for this artful combination, absorbing the flavors and adding its own al dente texture to each bite. This homemade pesto pasta is a dish that’s rich in history, tradition, and above all, flavor. Whether you stick to the classic recipe or opt for variations, it offers a slice of Italian culinary heaven that’s easy to create in any kitchen.

What are some more amazing pasta recipes to try?

If you are looking for more amazing delicious pasta recipes be sure to check out this comprehensive list –>  The Best Pasta Recipes For Weeknight Dinners!

Homemade Pesto Pasta For An Easy Weeknight Meal
Yield: 10-12 servings

Homemade Pesto Pasta For An Easy Weeknight Meal

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Have you ever thought about making Homemade Pesto Pasta for your family? The sauce of this pasta will make you feel as though you’re at a restaurant. It is super creamy and delicious. 


  • 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 & Pepper to taste, if desired
  • I Package if your favorite pasta (penne used here)


  1. In a food processor, combine basil, nuts, and garlic and pulse only until roughly combined
  2. Drizzle in oil and process until smooth
  3. Add in cheese and pulse only until well combined
  4. Cook any desired pasta per package instructions then drain
  5. Toss with pesto sauce, serve immediately, and enjoy!

Did you make this recipe?

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If you liked this pesto pasta be sure to check out these yummy recipes!

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Instant Pot Spicy Black Bean White Chicken Chili

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