WHB – Deconstructed Pesto Pasta

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This week for Weekend Herb Blogging, I showcase my favorite herb, basil. I love basil. I love how easy it is to grow. I love how pretty it looks growing. And I especially love how good it is. As I’ve mentioned before, I have two favorite types of food: Thai and Mediterranean. Maybe one of the reasons is that they both use my favorite herb. In my garden I grow both sweet basil and thai basil. I am more comfortable using the sweet basil and use it the most frequently, though Kalyn posted a recipe using thai basil that I am going to have to try.

Today’s recipe comes from the new issue of Fresh from Fine Cooking Magazine. I’ve adapted it slightly

Deconstructed Pesto Pasta
Serves 4 to 6 as a main course.

Kosher salt
8 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
8 cloves garlic, very thinly sliced (I used 4 cloves minced)
Freshly ground black pepepr
1 lb dried fuslli or radiatore pasta
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
4 oz. coarsely grated Pecorino Romano
2 cups packed fresh sweet basil leaves, but into 1/4 inch wide strips

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

In a large skillet, gently heat the olive oil and sliced garlic over low heat, stirring frequently, until the garlic starts to turn golden, 4 to 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in about 3/4 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Cook the pasta until al dente, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta water before draining it. Return the pasta to the pot. Pour the garlic and olive oil over the hot pasta and toss. Pour the reserved pasta water into the skillet, swirl it around, pour it over the pasta, and toss well. Add the pine nuts and cheese and toss again until thoroughly mixed. Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool for 5 minutes. Then, just before serving, toss in the basil. Serve with extra cheese.

This was pretty good, and very quick and easy. I think, though, that I like my basil pesto pasta, not deconstructed. I prefer it when the basil pesto coats every single strand of your pasta, and you get pesto and pasta flavor in every bite.

I served this with a quick to put together bean salad. Just tossed some cannelini beans with some olive oil, rice wine vinegar, salt & pepper and some fresh sage. It was pretty and tasty. Though, this menu would definitely flunk my home ec class, since everything was shades of beige and green.

If you want to see more entries for this weeks weekend herb blogging please go visit Daily Unadventures in Cooking. And to learn more about Weekend Herb Blogging, please click on the logo at the beginning of the post.

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  1. says

    I love cannellini with sage…Yum!
    As to the deconstructed pesto – I’m certain I would like the dish… but it wouldn’t be pesto. I think there is something about the basil puree that just tastes different.
    Like thin crust and deep dish pizza – both pizza, both wonderful, but not the same!

  2. says

    Another fan of Fine Cooking Magazine! Isn’t it great. I think I might agree that I’d like my pesto mixed with the salad, but I’d give it a try. And the bean salad looks good too.

    This year I have so much Thai Basil that I’m freezing some, but now I wonder if I’m completely crazy, since it’s usually used raw. Now sure at all what I’ll use it for, but I made a whole ice cube tray full!

  3. Terry B says

    Two delicious sounding dishes! Your cannellini reminds me of a similar side I make. Mix some drained cannellini, minced garlic, chopped rosemary, olive oil and salt and pepper in a saucepan. Let it sit while you cook the rest of the meal to let the flavors swap around. About five minutes before everything else is ready, warm the cannellini mixture over a medium-low flame. Easy and delicious!

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