Homemade Pesto Pasta

Jason has always made a delicious pesto pasta, but after he went to a cooking class in Italy and picked up a few tips there, it is now even more delicious! The secret to a good pesto pasta (other than technique) is to have good ingredients: fresh basil, good parmesan, high-quality extra virgin olive oil, and good pine nuts. If you have these things, the flavours will be spectacular.

You can make a simpler (and cheaper) pesto with other ingredients, and sometimes we use other cheeses because it is nice with different flavours. Fresh pasta works best, of course, and a nice salad with some rocket and tomatoes really makes the dish well rounded 🙂

Ingredients Serves 4
Cooking time: 60 mins (if making your own pasta, otherwise 25 mins)

  • 400 g flour (if making your own pasta)
  • 4 eggs (if making your own pasta)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Salt
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tbs pine nuts (plus extra for serving)
  • 100 g grated parmesan (plus extra for serving)
  • Olive oil

Our recipe uses a mortar and pestle, but you can use a food processor. If using a food processor, do not mix for too long as the heat affects the basil leaves.


  1. If you are making your own pasta, see the steps here.
  2. Cut a small edge from the garlic clove and put in a mortar with a large pinch of salt.
    Note: Use the edge as it isn’t as strong as using the middle.
  3. Crush the garlic in the mortar. Pound the garlic at first, but then grind it until liquidy.
  4. Add the basil leaves and grind until the mix is smooth. This can take at least 5 mins, but you really want to make it smooth and get all the liquid out of the leaves.
  5. Add the pine nuts and grind until smooth.
    Note: It is OK to have some pieces of nuts left – it doesn’t have to be totally smooth.
  6. Add the grated parmesan and 3 tbs olive oil, and mix with a spoon.
  7. Cook the pasta. Before draining the pasta, take 2-4 tbs water from the pan and add to the pesto.
  8. Mix the water and the pesto, so that the sauce is more runny.
  9. Drain the pasta and put it back in the saucepan with some olive oil.
  10. Mix the pesto into the pasta and serve on a plate.
  11. Add some salt and pepper, a dash of olive oil, a sprinkle of pine nuts, and some grated parmesan.
  12. Enjoy!


4 thoughts on “Homemade Pesto Pasta

  1. Pingback: Our Weekend, Week 52 and Week 1 – Christmas and New Year | Active Beans

  2. Pingback: Simple Cheese Ravioli | Active Beans

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