Pesto Pasta
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  • Food: Pesto Pasta

  • Writer: Alice

  • Content-Type: Food Blog

This quick and simple recipe will teach you how to make pesto pasta. It’s one of our favorite midweek dishes because of its vibrant, robust flavors.

This year, the first snowfall in Chicago arrived early. We were en route to an appointment in early November.

When the snow began falling, it suddenly changed from being “very charming” to “wow, it’s really coming down!” We waited in the chilly car for much too long, looking at the sky and brake lights while donning far too thin coats.

Later that evening, I prepared my go-to quick and simple dinner—this five-minute pesto pasta—with a fridge full of greens and a cupboard full of mostly nothing else.

Nothing tops pasta when it comes to combining strong taste and simple preparation, and we weren’t ready to go out into the snow to get any more supplies.


Pesto Pasta
Food: Pesto Pasta
Source: OneGreenPlanet

Making pesto pasta is simple, as I already mentioned. This is all you have to do:

  1. Make a batch of my simple, six-ingredient basil pesto or, in a pinch, buy some pesto from the store.
  2. As directed on the package, cook your pasta in a sizable pot of salted boiling water.
  3. Some of the starchy pasta water should be saved before draining the noodles. To thin the pesto, add 1/4 cup of this pasta water back into the saucepan with the pesto.
  4. Pasta should be fully coated in pesto before you add it.
  5. A large handful of arugula should be added and mixed until just wilted.
  6. Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, toasted pine nuts, and a generous squeeze of lemon are added to complete the dish.

Dig in!


Have you never prepared spaghetti with pesto? Here are some pointers to get you going:

  • Save a little pasta water. My top pesto pasta advice! The pesto will get enough liquefied by the salty, starchy pasta water to create a thin sauce for the spaghetti. This water will result in a more flavorful, thicker pesto sauce than plain water would because of its salty, starchy characteristics.
  • At the last minute, add the greens. I prefer my greens to be somewhat wilted rather than completely limp. Serve them immediately, while they still have a little crunch and brilliant color, after tossing them in at the very last minute so that the hot pasta may wilt them.
  • Adjust to taste. Pestos range in brightness, saltiness, and overall flavor intensity, so taste your finished dish before serving and make any necessary adjustments. To make your pesto pasta sing, you might need to add an additional squeeze of lemon, a sprinkle of salt, or a generous dash of black pepper, depending on your pesto.


Like other easy recipes, this one is enjoyable to experiment with. Here are some suggestions to spice things up:

  • Are no pine nuts available? Replace them with almonds or walnuts.
  • Replace the arugula at the end of the dish with spinach or kale, or omit the greens entirely.
  • For a change during the colder months, consider using kale pesto instead of basil.
  • Add some fresh or roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted cauliflower, or asparagus as a garnish to the finished dish.
  • Add a few tiny mozzarella balls or a few capers.
  • Use spaghetti squash in its place, or substitute your preferred pasta shape.

What pesto pasta preparation is your favorite? Comment below and let me know!


A fantastic vegetarian midweek dinner is this quick and simple pesto pasta! Arugula is one of my favorite additions, but you are welcome to omit it or substitute your preferred soft greens instead.

Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Serves: 2


  • 6 ounces pasta, reserve 1/2 cup starchy pasta water
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup basil pesto or vegan pesto
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  • Fresh lemon juiceas desired
  • 4 cups arugula
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • Pinches of red pepper flakes
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan or vegan parmesan


Pesto Pasta
Food: Pesto Pasta
Source: OneGreenPlanet
  1. As directed on the package or until al dente, cook the pasta in a big pot of salted boiling water. Before draining, save 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid for the starchy food. Pasta should be drained and tossed with a little touch of olive oil.
  2. 1/4 cup of the pasta water from the reserved pot and the pesto should be combined in a large skillet over extremely low heat. Add the pasta, toss to combine, and add additional pasta water as necessary to make a loose sauce. Your pesto’s thickness will determine how much water you need.
  3. Switch off the heat. Salt and pepper to taste, along with lemon juice. Arugula is then added and tossed until it just begins to wilt. Pine nuts and red pepper flakes are used as a garnish before serving.