Pesto Pasta Sauce

Quick, Easy, Frugal!

There are spaghetti sauces and then there is Pesto! One of summer’s most delightful harvests from the garden is basil picked at perfection.  Perhaps its because Basil is known as l’herbe royale, king of the herbs.

Fortunately it’s easy to grow and keep fresh all year with easy to purchase plants available in some grocery stores year round. 

Not quite so simple as buying a plant is growing your greens and herbs, like basil, indoors. You’ll need a sunny window or grow light to help it grow its best – but it’s well worth having it available for when the Pesto craving comes on.

(I hate to mention this on a recipe page – but basil indoors or out helps to repel flies and mosquitoes. A bonus in the kitchen)

A food processor is the preferred kitchen tool to use but if you are an expert with a mortar and pestle, or have a blender you can use them as well.

Serve this fragrant sauce with your favorite pasta.

Pesto Pasta Sauce


2 – 3 cups fresh Basil leaves, preferably organic
½ - ¾ cup fresh Parmesan (grated)
½ cup virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
3 – 4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper to taste


1. Boil pasta according to package instructions, drain and put into a big serving bowl. Keep hot.

As pasta cooks:

  1. Add basil and pine nuts to processor and pulse.
  2. Add the garlic and pulse once again.
  3. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while blending.
  4. Add the Parmesan cheese and blend until a smooth paste is formed.
  5. Add the salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve over the hot pasta.

This, too,  is a delicious and quick pasta dish.You can mix the sauce with the spaghetti or serve individual portions of each plate then top with the sauce.

Enjoy with crusty garlic French bread or a whole wheat roll and a tossed green salad or sliced tomatoes on the side. But if your string beans (or peas) are ripe to pick, they would not just taste delicious, but look elegant on your plate as well.

Here’s another sauce for pasta, Zucchini Pasta Sauce, that is another excellent summer harvest dish when zucchini are plentiful – and when, frankly, about all anyone wants to do on a hot summer day is walk out to the garden and pluck a few small zucchini that are ready to harvest.  In fact, the recipes are very similar.

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