Jan 9, 2021

Creamy Pesto Pasta

Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
With just a few simple ingredients this sauce has become a staple in my pasta rotation with the sharp taste of the Parmesan cheese, and the richness provided by the pine nuts, herby basil and just a touch of lemon juice.

The base of this pesto sauce is similar to this classic recipe here, but made creamy by blending it with the starchy pasta water until smooth and finishing it with a touch of heavy cream. To keep the sauce a vibrant bright green, I blanch the basil leaves before combining them with the remaining ingredients.

With just a few simple ingredients this sauce has become a staple in my pasta rotation with the sharp taste of the Parmesan cheese, and the richness provided by the pine nuts, herby basil and just a touch of lemon juice.

If you do not have pine nuts, try substituting walnuts instead, as the oily nuts work well in the sauce and are high in Omega-3’s (plus they’re much cheaper). Be sure to thoroughly wash the basil leaves before using them in the pesto; pesto is no place for dirt.

Homemade Handkerchief Pasta with Creamy Pesto-15.jpg

Creamy Pesto Pasta

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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 4 ounces pine nuts
  • 6 ounces fresh basil
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ½ medium lemon, juiced
  • Kosher salt, as needed
  • ¾ pound pasta of choice, I use homemade handkerchief noodles
  • ¼ cup heavy cream

Instructions:

  • Add the pine nuts to a small nonstick skillet and toast them over medium-low heat until they are golden brown and fragrant, about 4 minutes. Remove and set aside.
  • Pick the basil leaves off the stems then rinse and pat the basil dry. Place the basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil and lemon juice in a blender or food processor fitted with a blade attachment and blend on high until the basil is chopped, about 1 minute.
  • Stop the blender and scrape down the sides occasionally with a spoon to make sure all ingredients are combined. Season to taste with salt.
  • Bring a large pot of water to the boil; add the salt and bring back to the boil. Pour in the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and return to the pot.
  • Add ½ cup of the reserved pasta water to the pesto and continue to blend until smooth. Add the cream and blend once more.
  • Ladle in the desired amount of pesto to coat the pasta. Stir and serve.

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