Pesto sauce is one of the most versatile sauces you can have on hand. Although pesto can be made with a variety of herbs, we are going to focus on basil pesto. Basil Pesto is so much more than just an Italian basil pasta sauce (although it does that very well). You can use pesto in marinades for meat and vegetables and as a topping for cooked meat and veg too. Basil pesto can also be added to pizza, salad dressings, and sauces. It packs a punch of flavour and it immediately elevates everything it is used on/in. I mean, it takes plain boiled pasta and turns it into a sophisticated, yet simple moreish plate of deliciousness. That’s exactly what our Gluten-Free Basil Pesto Pasta Recipe does.
This pesto sauce recipe is great to keep on hand in the fridge. As I grow basil in my outdoor summer garden, I preserve it in oil by making a basil paste. Then throughout the year, I can quickly make this basil pesto at any time. Keep in mind, you can use other nuts (like walnuts or even almonds) if you don’t have pine nuts. The important thing to remember, is to toast whatever nuts you use to bring out their full flavour. Also, if you buy a large bag of nuts you can keep them fresh by double wrapping them in plastic bags and keeping them in the freezer for roughly 4-6 months.
Gluten-Free Basil Pesto Pasta Recipe
- 3/4C pine nuts (toasted)
- 3C basil
- 3/4 c reggiano Parmesan
- 3 cloves medium garlic
- 1/4 c PurOlivia oil (or any olive oil)
- 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 340 grams of gluten-free pasta (you can use short or long – whatever you prefer)
Read our reviews on Catelli Gluten-Free Pasta and Tinkyada Gluten-Free Pasta if you want to read about our experience with those brands
- In a dry fry pan add the pine nuts and toast over medium heat. You want to have the pine nuts form an even layer, so use a larger fry pan. Stir constantly until nuts become light golden brown in colour, and smell fragrant and nutty.
- Remove pine nuts from pan.
- Remove your basil leaves from the steams and remove any large bites or blemishes.
- Wash and dry basil.
Tip: Spinning your basil in a salad spinner is a great way to get it dry.
- Place basil, oil, and garlic in your food processor and grind it together.
- Stop the food processor and scrape down the sides, add another quarter cup of oil.
- To the basil add in the cheese, black pepper, and cooled toasted pine nuts.
- Pulse the mixture in the food processor and then stop and scrape down the sides again, so that everything is similar in size and a smooth consistency.
- Taste the basil mixture.
- Add salt and pepper as needed
- If you add in additional salt and pepper, make sure to mix again in the food processor so everything is evenly combined.
- Set pesto aside.
Tip: Store extra pesto in a jar, or airtight container with a layer of oil covering the top to keep it fresh in the fridge.
For The Pasta
Tip: Check out our tips for cooking the perfect gluten-free pasta.
- When the water comes to a rolling boil add in the pasta.
- Cook pasta to package instructions or until it is cooked.
- Before draining pasta, use a heatproof measuring cup to remove at least 2 cups of pasta water- and set aside.
- Drain pasta.
- Put pasta back in the empty pot, add in enough pesto to coat the pasta well (about 1/2-3/4 C) over low heat
- Add in about 1/4 cup of pasta water to help loosen the pesto, and make it saucey- add in more pesto and/or water to get your pasta sauce to your desired consistency.
- Remove from pot and serve.
- Place extra pesto in a small bowl on the table, so that if anyone wants to add extra, they can.
- You can also serve pesto pasta with additional parmesan cheese and even optional hot peppers.
This simple yet delicious pasta will be a welcome addition to any meal.