The Best Basil Pesto Pasta

from 19 votes

Skip the store-bought sauces and whip up a fast and fresh recipe for the best basil pesto perfect for serving with your favorite noodles.

Basil pesto pasta on a white plate with basil and cheese

I first shared this recipe for basil pesto way back in 2009. And after recently featuring it in my Instagram Stories, I decided it was about time this ol’ post got a makeover. The recipe is still the tried and true classic. But the photos have gotten some much needed nipping and tucking. (My Nikon and I have come a long way in the past 8 years!)

Toasted pine nute in a sauté pan

Basil pesto is one of my earliest childhood food memories, all thanks to my mom Noni, who made this recipe a staple in our home decades ago. The sauce is rich in flavor (and how about that color!), yet it stars seemingly few ingredients, allowing the fresh basil to take on the starring role.

Basil pesto ingredients inside a blender

 Its garlicky without being overwhelming, and it leaves the door wide open for customizations when it comes to nuts. Pine nuts are, of course, the most traditional option. But I’ve followed this exact recipe and substituted in nearly every nut variety with success, from pistachios and walnuts to almonds and even as one reader noted below, macadamia nuts.

Puréed basil pesto pasta in a white dish

And speaking of versatility, this basil pesto can be used in many a ways beyond a bowl of noodles. Try stirring a tablespoon or two into mayonnaise for a flavor-packed sandwich spread or French fry dip, or use it as the base for a seriously herbacious salad dressing.

No matter what way you blend it or use it, one thing is certain: Homemade basil pesto beats the store-bought stuff every time. And if you’re staring down any leftovers, pour it into an ice cube tray then freeze it. Pesto craving? POp out a cube, stir it into piping hot pasta and devour!

Basil pesto bucatini pasta on a white plate

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The Best Basil Pesto Pasta

Skip the store-bought sauces and whip up a fast and fresh recipe for the best basil pesto perfect for serving with your favorite noodles.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.85 from 19 votes
Basil pesto pasta on a white plate with basil and cheese
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 1 cup


  • 2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, washed and dried thoroughly
  • 2 Tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons pine nuts, toasted and cooled
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil


  • In a food processor or blender, combine the basil leaves, Parmesan cheese, garlic, toasted pine nuts, kosher salt and pepper. Pulse the ingredients together until well blended.
  • While the food processor or blender is running, drizzle in the olive oil and continue blending, scraping down the sides as needed, until the pesto is puréed. Taste and season it with salt and pepper then serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to serve.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don't forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 534kcal, Carbohydrates: 3g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 56g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 8mg, Sodium: 1318mg, Potassium: 36mg, Vitamin A: 85IU, Vitamin C: 2.8mg, Calcium: 127mg, Iron: 0.3mg


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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.

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  1. 4 stars
    It’s a really good recipe. Does not make 1 cup tho. Double recipe if you want to cover an entire 16oz pkg of pasta.

  2. 5 stars
    I had pesto once many years ago store bought and it was terrible and had never try it again. But tonight I made your recipe for pesto with pasta, as I had a huge basil plant in my garden this year and great big Russian garlic as well. I did sub the pine nuts for walnuts but it was still very tasty. I must say it was truly delicious and I made three more batches just so I could freeze some for a later date. Thank You so much for this delicious recipe for a truly fresh organic dinner on a very hot summer evening, except the cheese lol, as it was store bought. I would highly recommend this recipe to all.

  3. Best pesto I’ve ever made! I added a couple extra garlic cloves as I love garlic. The toasted pine nuts make a much better flavor than non toasted, so that’s a thing I never knew before. I’ll be using some of this on a homemade chicken/white cheese pizza tonight. Freezing the rest. It is very delicious! Easy to make!

      1. Hi…made it now and am really pleased with the outcome. Didn’t have nuts so omitted that. Also didn’t add pepper as I was out of that too but still very tasty as is. Will be making this for from now on. Thanks for sharing

    1. Just don’t over Toast the Pinenuts cause it taste bitter. Other Option: you can buy the ingredients in a Jar now, it’s called ” Pesto Basil ” , just add bit of Cheese if you want. It taste the same(less stress)Woala!

  4. 5 stars
    I just came in from picking some basil, green and purple & I’ll be making the pesto. I can taste it in my mind, it’s that good! Oh, oh I realized I only have walnuts, so I’ll be adding them instead of pinenuts.

  5. 5 stars
    Thanks for the recipe, it was easy and delicious! My blender didn’t blend well so it was a bit coarse but it didn’t matter at all

  6. 5 stars
    I was never a pesto lover. But my husband is. So he found this easy peasy recipe and made his own dinner. And the aroma dragged me into the kitchen and I couldn’t stop myself from licking the sauce straight from the blender. Its divine.
    Now I always have a batch prepared and kept in my fridge. We use it as salad dressing, sandwich spread, dipping sauce and of course pasta sauce.the best part is its ready in five mintues.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  7. 5 stars
    Tried this last night. It was delicious. Tweaked it a little though…

    Used only 1 garlic clove, no pepper, and 3 tbsp of cheese. Had only 1 problem. Couldn’t drizzle the olive oil using a Ninja or Bullet as they open from the bottom.

    One suggestion: Next time I’ll crush the garlic. My Ninja didn’t puree anything… just blew it all out to the sides. Even so, it was still good but 3 garlic cloves would have been way too overpowering unless you are making a garlic sauce.

  8. 5 stars
    This looks really good, and I’m starving. That’s not a good combination! LOL! Basil pesto is the absolute best. Wish I would’ve picked up some basil while I was grocery shopping today because I’d be making this tomorrow. Pinned it, so it will definitely be made later. :)

  9. Delicious. Thank you for the recipe. I made it tonight and it was easy and very tasty. I left out the cheese to make it vegan, and I was surprised that I didn’t miss it. A keeper!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe, Laurel! It’s great to know that the flavor is still maintained when skipping on the cheese. I’m not sure how you used it, but I love it tossed with linguine or drizzled over crostini.