Gluten Free, Sauces, Side Dishes
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Homemade Pesto – Penne with Pesto and Parmesan Cheese

Homemade Pesto Recipe

My three year old has started her summer holiday, which means I have three weeks of non-stop entertaining, cooking and outings in front of me.  You can probably imagine how intense it can be when a three year old constantly asks for your attention, and you have to try to fulfill her demands while you are trying to get some housework done. I have to say; it is tiring but of course I love it.  It is so much fun to do ‘grown up’ things with her, go to museum, have lunch in restaurants, have a nice conversation while we are on the tram etc. I love it because they are really the most special moments!

Anyway, let’s get back to this week’s recipe.  Since I have my hands full the whole time, I haven’t got the time or chance to experiment with new recipes.  So I thought something simple is all I can manage this week – home made pesto. Once you made it yourself, you will never go back to ready-made pesto in jars because the taste is so fresh.  On top of it, it is entirely your call to adjust the seasoning to suit your own taste.  You can spread it on bruschetta, drizzle it on salad or use it as a pasta sauce. In this week’s recipe, I cooked some penne pasta and mixed them with my home made pesto.  The whole meal took me less than 30 minutes to make, and it tasted so good.  Try it, and you will know what I mean.


(serves 2 adults and 2 children)

  • 3 large handful of fresh Basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • 2 heaped tbsp. of Parmesan cheese plus extra for serving
  • A handful of pine nuts
  • ½ clove of garlic
  • Pinch of salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil

To serve: 300g penne or any pasta shapes you like

Season a large pot of water with salt and bring to boil.  Cook the pasta according to the instruction.  While the pasta is cooking, make your pesto: put the pine nut in a dry non-stick pan on medium heat, just warm them up without browning.  Bash the garlic and a pinch of salt in a pestle and mortar until pureed.  Add basil leaves in batches and continue bashing and grounding until it becomes a paste.  Remove to a medium bowl and set aside.  Crush the pine nuts in the pestle and mortar, then add to the basil paste and mix well.  Now add half of the Parmesan cheese, gradually add olive oil and stir until the paste is smooth but not runny.  Mix in the remaining cheese and slowly more olive oil until it reaches the desired consistency.  Have a taste and adjust the seasoning.  When the pasta is cooked, drain and add the pesto to the pasta, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

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