Pesto Pasta

Our basil plant has officially turned into a tree. What better way to use the endless amounts of basil growing before the fall/winter chill hits us than by making homemade pesto?

Pesto:

  • 6 roasted garlic cloves
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves (washed)
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • pepper & salt, to taste
  • nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup walnuts or pine nuts (optional)

Pasta:

  • 16 oz. small shell pasta
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup pesto
  • 1/2 packet of Knorr Pesto Sauce Mix
  • cayenne
  • fresh Parmesan cheese (for topping)
  • roasted pine nuts (for topping)

To make the pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until throughly blended.  I left out the pine nuts, because I put them into my pasta.  Just a pinch of salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste. The roasted garlic (place in a sided cookie sheet with olive oil, shell and all, and broil for 2-5 minutes) and basil are the main flavor bursts in pesto.  If the ingredients aren’t blending well, add a little more olive oil.

Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box and drain in a strainer. 

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In the same pan, while the pasta is draining, toss half the packet of Knorr Pesto Sauce Mix and heavy cream together. As you can see, I overcooked my pasta and some stuck to the bottom of the pan. Pull out your pasta just before it is finished cooking, as it will continue to cook while it drains in the strainer. Mix the cream and seasoning until the cream becomes a light green soup.  Next add in the fresh pesto and a pinch of cayenne.  Heat until the blend is thickened and simmering.  If you want to make it entirely fresh, leave out the pesto seasoning packet.  You’ll just have to adjust with a few spices from your cabinet to counter what you take away.
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Place drained pasta into an individual sized pasta bowl. Top with a spoonful or two of the pesto pasta sauce.  Grate some Parmesan cheese atop the sauce and top with a sprinkling of roasted pine nuts.
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This pasta is a pesto lovers dream. It would even be good with black olives mixed in.  It’s more of a heavy, winter meal from the healthy fat of the olive oil and cream.  Roasting the garlic and pine nuts adds that unique smoky, rustic taste at the back of your tongue, which is a must-try.  I like to use the shell pasta because it captures gobs of the pesto sauce and the little pine nuts, so you can savor every aspect of this dish together in one.

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Filed under Food, Lunch/Dinner

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