Linguine Al Pesto sounds pretty fancy right!! We can call it that but we are really talking about simple linguine with basil pesto. It is a super quick and easy recipe that ticks the vegetarian box, the texture box and the so very delicious box. Pesto linguine is herby fresh, citrusy delicious and cheesy yum all at the same time 😉.
Recipes like my Fusilli Al Pesto, Caprese Pesto Pasta Salad and Pesto Pasta with Sausage delight in using pesto as a key ingredient.
The Linguine Bolognese and Rigatoni Gorgonzola offer non spaghetti options and embrace other pasta types.
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Homemade pesto: is surprisingly easy and straight forward to make at home. You know exactly what ingredients go into the pesto and can switch up the nut for a change.
- Vegetarian pasta: we all love a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs from time to time but other times it can be nice to have a lighter pasta. This pesto linguine is satisfying but won't leave you feeling as heavy 'ugh' as a meat sauce pasta 👍😊.
- Taste and texture: linguine pesto offers freshly cooked al dente pasta mixed together with garlicky, herby, citrus freshness. It is packed with flavour and yet very simple to bring together as a dish.
- Budget friendly: without the addition of meat and using low cost ingredients this is a recipe that won't blow the budget. Bring the linguine with basil pesto together on a week night or night that you would normally have gone out to eat and save time, energy and effort all at once 😉.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Linguine: a long pasta that has more of a flat appearance than the traditional round tube that spaghetti has. It is similar to fettucine but not as wide.
- Basil leaves: fresh with stems removed. You can use kitchen scissors to discard the stems. No need to rinse them, simply pop into the food processor.
- Pistachio nuts: a great nut to use for pesto for its lovely colour as well as high protein value.
- Parmesan cheese: freshly grated if you can, it is much softer (less gummy) than store bought pre grated cheese.
- Olive oil: this helps to bring all of the other ingredients in the pesto together, acting like the binding agent or glue.
- Garlic: 1 to 2 cloves is a good amount to shoot for. Simply cut the little bit off at the base and pop the remaining cloves into the food processor.
- Lemon juice: this gives the pesto lift. It is a fantastic citrus that you can freshly squeeze or use lemon juice from a bottle. We want to taste the pesto before adding this to ensure we get the right flavour balance.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the pesto linguine. We start by making the basil pesto. A food processor is the quickest way to achieve this, however, you can use a stick blender or mortar and pestle if you prefer.
- Add basil leaves to food processor (Photo 1)
- Add pistachio nuts (Photo 2)
- Next add garlic cloves (Photo 3)
- Then add parmesan cheese (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Linguine Al Pesto
Start by making the pesto. This can be done simply by adding the basil leaves, pistachio nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese to the bowl of a food processor. Once that is done blitz for around 15 seconds to combine.
Then drizzle in the olive oil and blitz again. Take a spatula and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure all of the ingredients stay low in the food processor.
- Add the olive oil (Photo 5)
- Followed by the lemon juice (Photo 6)
- Then transfer combined pesto to bowl (Photo 7)
- Cook linguine and reserve 1 to 2 cups before draining (Photo 8)
Once you have added the olive oil and lemon juice the pesto will have come together and can be transferred out of the food processor to a small bowl. Set it aside for the time being.
Read the instructions on the pasta packet and cook the linguine in a pot of salted water (just a pinch). Before draining, use a heatproof jug to reserve 1 to 2 cups of the water. Then drain and discard the rest of the water. There is no need to rinse the pasta.
- Drain the linguine (Photo 9)
- Add pasta and pesto to a large sauté pan (Photo 10)
- Then pour in the reserved pasta water (Photo 11)
- Stir continuously until the pesto, pasta and pasta water are consistently combined (Photo 12)
🍽 Serving Suggestions
This pasta pairs very well with the Turkish Garlic Bread, Ciabatta Garlic Bread or Garlic Pizza Bread.
For light and colourful salad sides try the Cherry Tomato Caprese Salad or Healthy Panzanella Salad.
For meat pairings try the Italian Herb Chicken Thighs, Oven Baked Pork Ribs or BBQ Lamb Ribs.
When plating be sure to freely garnish with parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper and fresh basil leaves 😉.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftovers of the linguine in sealed, air tight containers in the fridge. They can be refrigerated for 3 days and can be consumed hot or cold.
How to Freeze
Allow the dish to fully cool. Then portion into air tight containers or zip lock bags, squeeze the air out then seal. Frozen portions of the dish can be kept in the freezer for 3 months.
How to Reheat
Allow frozen portions to fully thaw in the fridge overnight or on the bench during the day before reheating. Reheat in the microwave (fastest) covered for 3 to 4 minutes. Or you can add the cooked pesto linguine pasta back to a pan on the stove with additional reserved pasta water, turn to medium heat and stir till the pasta is heated through.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- Yes, you can use a different type of pasta if you prefer. Spaghetti, fettucine, trenette and fusilli are all good options.
- You can switch up the nut used for the pesto (equivalent amount) and substitute pine nuts, walnuts or cashews.
- For the cheese parmesan cheese or pecorino romano are both good options.
- For the lemon juice freshly squeezed or bottled will work well.
- You can use spinach in place of the basil for the pesto if you wish too.
- Finely chopped parsley is a great garnish and alternative to the basil leaves.
- You can toast additional nuts, roughly chop them and add on top of the pasta for a little extra texture if you wish to.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- Add a pinch of salt to the water when cooking the linguine.
- Use a heatproof jug to drain and reserve some of the water before draining the pasta.
- There is no need to rinse the cooked pasta.
- Additional parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper and basil leaves are great for garnishing the finished dish.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What goes with pesto linguine?
Pesto linguine pairs very well with garlic bread, cheesy pizza bread, a light salad or grilled chicken.
Do you put pesto on pasta before or after cooking?
You put the pesto on cooked pasta and use some reserved pasta water to help bind the pesto, pasta and sauce.
How do you get pesto to stick to pasta?
Reserving some of the pasta water from the cooked linguine and using that when combining the pesto and cooked pasta is the trick to ensuring that the pesto clings to the pasta. This water is known for being high in starch and is a great method to use when combining pasta and sauces.
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
Getting dinner on the table can be easy breezy with some simple recipes up your sleeve. Here are a few that I know you will enjoy:
- Pasta Alla Gorgonzola
- Easy Basil Pesto Fettuccine Recipe
- Lamb Bolognese
- Fettuccine Bolognese
- Oven Baked Pork Ribs
- Pork Bolognese
- Chicken Spaghetti Bolognese
- Turkey Mince Bolognese
- Macaroni Bolognese
It's time for pesto pasta my friend 😉. You can also find all of my pasta recipes in the one spot.
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Linguine Al Pesto
- 1 Food processor
- 1 Spatula
- 1 Medium sized sauce pan
- 1 Heatproof jug
- 1 Colander
- 1 Large saute pan
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 3 cups basil leaves loosely packed, leaves only, stems removed
- ½ cup pistachio nuts Note 1
- 2 cloves garlic Note 2
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- ⅓ cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoon lemon juice Note 3
- 500 grams/16 oz linguine
- 1 teaspoon salt to cook the linguine
- reserved pasta water Note 4
- Parmesan cheese
- cracked black pepper
- fresh basil leaves
- Make pesto: add the fresh basil leaves, garlic, pistachio nuts and parmesan cheese to the food processor bowl and blitz for about 15 seconds. Then scrap the edges down with a spatula to keep all of the ingredients low in the bowl.
- Oil: drizzle in the olive oil and blitz for around 5 seconds to combine. Then take a teaspoon and test a little bit of the pesto.
- Lemon juice: pour in 1 tablespoon of lemon juice and blitz to combine. Use the spatula again to scrape down the sides of the pesto. Take the teaspoon and test another small amount of pesto. Add remaining tablespoon of lemon juice if needed to balance the flavours. Transfer combined pesto to a small bowl and set aside.
- Linguine: read and follow the packet instructions to cook the linguine in a medium saucepan of salted water. Before draining, use a heatproof jug to scoop out 1 to 2 cups of pasta water. Then use a colander to drain the saucepan and discard the water.
- Combine pesto and pasta: add the cooked pasta to a large sauté pan. Turn the heat to low. Dollop in the pesto. Pour in ⅓ cup of the reserved pasta water and use a wooden spoon to stir and combine. Keep stirring till the pasta, water and pesto is consistently combined.
- Serve and enjoy: portion the pesto linguine into serving bowls, garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese, cracked black pepper and fresh basil leaves. Provide forks and spoons for consuming.
- Note 1 - Pistachio nuts: you can also toast some roughly chopped leftovers of these to garnish the top of the dish if you want to. Substitute the equivalent amount of pine nuts, cashews or walnuts.
- Note 2 - Garlic cloves: if using fresh cloves, use a knife and chopping board to cut the small end bit of the base, before adding to the food processor. You can use ½ to 1 tablespoon of minced garlic if you don't have garlic cloves.
- Note 3 - Lemon juice: this lifts the flavour of the pesto, but can also quickly over power it if too much juice is used. So taste the pesto before adding any lemon juice, then add 1 tablespoon and combine, then taste again before deciding if you want to add the other tablespoon. You will know quickly from the taste if it is spot on or needs the extra amount. (I do use the 2 tablespoons, but also taste it repeatedly to ensure that specific batch of pesto needs the 2).
- Note 4 - Reserved pasta water: we only need ⅓ cup of this for the recipe. It is added once the cooked linguine and pesto have been added to the sauté pan together. Pour it in slowly and then use a wooden spoon to stir and combine. I refer in the post to taking out 1 to 2 cups. This is because you can leave this in the fridge in a sealed, jar with lid and then use a little to juice up the leftovers before heating (simply drizzle it in and then stir).
Tina Feyers says
Great easy recipe, we made the homemade pesto as you do, yummo!
Thanks Tina for your feedback! I appreciate it and yes love the homemade pesto!!