Basilberry recipes

Penne Pasta with Basil Pesto

Penne Pasta with Basil Pesto Recipe


Ingredients for Penne Pasta with Basil Pesto
Preparation time: 20 min
Cooking time: 11 min
Persons: 4
Difficulty: Very Low
Cost: Low

The rich Basil Pesto sauce originally from the Italian region of Liguria is most commonly used on pasta but also added to certain soups and salads. The flavors of crushed garlic, pine nuts and basil leaves blended with olive oil and Parmigiano Reggiano and pecorino sardo cheeses all come together as they are ground by hand with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. It is the freshness of the ingredients that makes these Penne Pasta with Basil Pesto such a rich dish and a popular recipe in many households today for its semplicity and authentic flavor. Especially when preparing traditional pasta forms such as trofie, trenette and mandilli de saea which are associated with the city of Genoa and the Liguria province where the pesto sauce was first invented this dressing is a must! Penne pasta has a similar texture which makes them perfect for a pesto dressing as the creamy basil sauce will easily stick to the pasta and melt away in your mouth!
    For the Penne Pasta with Basil Pesto:
  • Basil
    50 gr of leaves
  • Garlic
    2 cloves
  • Olive oil
    extra vergin, 100 ml
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
    70 gr
  • Pecorino cheese
    30 gr
  • Penne
    320 gr
  • Pine nuts
    50 gr
  • Salt
    coarse sea salt, 1 pinch



Clean the basil leaves with a clean kitchen cloth without washing them. Peal and crush the 2 garlic cloves and join them with some coarse sea salt in a mortar.

Start pounding with a pestle until the crushed garlic is reduced in a cream. Then, add the 50 gr of basil leaves and another pinch of coarse sea salt which will serve to break up the fibers of the basil leaves and to better maintain a nice bright green color.

Crush the basil against the walls of the mortar by rotating the pestle from left to right and simultaneously rotating the mortar in the opposite direction. Keep crushing until a bright green liquid will come out of the basil leaves and then add the 50 gr of pine nuts. Continue pounding to reduce in cream. Now, grate the 40 gr of Parmigiano Reggiano and the 40 gr of pecorino sardo cheese.

Join the grated cheeses in a bowl and add them little at a time while pounding the Pesto Genovese making it more creamy.

After adding all the grated cheese join the 100 ml of olive oil and blend in all the ingredients. You have now prepared your Pesto Genovese ready to dress your penne pasta with.

Put a large pot on the heat with enough water to boil the pasta in. When boiling, add the 320 gr of penne pasta and cook for 11 min until al dente. Drain the pasta.

Pour the drained penne back into the pot and stir in the previously prepared pesto sauce. Garnish the Penne Pasta with Basil Pesto by sprinkling some grated cheese, chopped pine nuts or a basil leaves on top!
Cooking Tips:

The processing of the pesto sauce is carried out as soon as possible and preferably at the moment to avoid oxidation problems such as loss of color and fresh flavor.

If you wish to use the blender it is definitely better to opt for plastic blades, as metal ones actually have the defect to not fully release the flavor from the leaves, making the pesto sauce a more bitter one.

To get a good pesto sauce, make sure the basil leaves are dry, and not wrinkled, since the rupture of vesicles containing essential oils on the upper part of the leaves cause oxidation of the color and flavor.

When using a blender, mix at a lower speed and blend in spurts (blend for a few seconds then stop for a few second and so on), so as to avoid heating due to friction.

Another trick to avoid overheating of the pesto when mixing in the blender is to place the top of the blender and when possibile the blades in the refrigerator an hour before use.

Add more cheese for a more creamier Pesto Genovese.

The use of a mature and sweeter olive oil will bring out the sharp flavor of the garlic and the aroma of the basil leaves.

Ad some chopped pine nuts to the Pesto Genovese for some bite.

Instead of using penne pasta pasta forms such as trofie, trenette and mandilli de saea which are associated with the city of Genoa and the Liguria province are commonly dressed with this Basil Pesto sauce. Linguini or spaghetti can also be served with a thicker pesto sauce.