We have a ton of basil in our garden right now. It’s taking over one of our raised beds. We decided to make this simple pesto recipe last night, since it only takes a few minutes and uses up a ton of basil.
Besides the basil, you’ll need a 1-lb. box of dried pasta (we like to use orzo, but you can use any shape you like), parmesan cheese, olive oil, garlic, walnuts (pine nuts work, too), salt, and pepper. Another reason we love this recipe is because we usually have all of these ingredients available, so we can make it on a whim.
Start by boiling your pasta water. When it comes to a boil, add salt. Drop in your pasta and cook until al dente.
You can easily make the pesto in the time that it takes to boil your pasta. Add about 3 cups of basil, 4 cloves of garlic, 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup walnuts, and 1/2 cup olive oil to a food processor.
Pulse a few times then set on high until the mixture becomes a thick paste.
Add olive oil while food processor is on high until pesto is the desired texture. Some people like their pesto to be thick, others like it thin. Take a taste to see if you like the texture.
Pesto is very forgiving. If you add too much olive oil, you can thicken it by adding more parmesan cheese and/or walnuts. Add more olive oil if you need to thin it out.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
By now, your pasta should be done cooking. Drain your pasta and add it back to the pot (but don’t put it on the hot burner!). Add the pesto to the pasta.
Stir until combined.
Serve in a shallow bowl and top with parmesan cheese and fresh basil, if desired.