Recipe video above. This is how to make a great pesto pasta that's slick with pesto sauce without adding tons and tons of oil which makes it overly oily. The secret is using the pasta cooking water - it emulsifies with the oil in the pesto which makes it cling to every strand of pasta. A technique used in every Italian household! Make this with homemade pesto for the best flavour.
300 - 350 g / 10 - 12 oz pasta of choice(ziti, penne and spaghetti are my favourites, Note 2)
3/4cuppasta cooking water
Parmesan, for serving
Bring a large pot of water to the boil with the salt.
Add pasta and cook for the length of time per the packet.
Just before draining, scoop out 1 cup of of the pasta cooking water.
Drain pasta in a colander, leave it for a minute.
Transfer pasta to a bowl (do not use pasta cooking pot, too hot).
Add pesto and 1/4 cup of pasta water. Toss to coat pasta in pesto, adding more water if required to make pasta silky and saucy, rather than dry and sticky.
Taste, add more salt and pepper if desired.
Serve immediately, garnished with fresh parmesan.
1. Pesto - This recipe is intended for use with this homemade pesto which I also shared today. But the same technique applies to store bought. If using store bought, use 1/2 cup+. Usually require less than when using homemade because they have a more concentrated flavour from basil extract.2. Pasta - Ziti and penne are my favourites for pesto (explained in post). Spaghetti is next, then other long strand pastas.
Use 300g/10oz for a really great coating of pesto sauce - 3 large servings, 4 smallish servings.
Use up to 350g/12oz for "normal" amount of pesto sauce to pasta - 4 standard servings.