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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Almond pesto with Penne

To me, the best sauce to go with Penne is Pesto. Maybe it’s the garlic or the parmesan cheese or the green color (which by now everybody might have known, is my favorite) that I prefer pesto over Marinara or Alfredo.

Store bought Pesto is definitely convenient but there is so much oil in it, I always get a bad throat later. So I decided to take matters into my own hands, literally and decided to make Pesto at home, and what a costly affair it was ! Do not let it dishearten you however; the fresh taste and flavor more than made up for the cost.

Fresh basil leaves – 2 cups
Garlic – 6 cloves
Almonds – quarter of a cup (peeled)
Olive oil – 6 tsp
Water – half a cup
Freshly grated parmesan cheese – half a cup
Salt and pepper
Broccoli florets – 1 cup
Orange bell pepper – 1 medium, roughly chopped
Thin sticks of Asparagus – 8 to 10
Butter – 2 tsp
Penne pasta
Water for pasta – as needed

Combine basil, garlic, almonds, cheese, water salt and pepper in a mixer. Grind it for a couple of minutes. Add the olive oil and again grind it to a fine paste. Your pesto sauce is ready.

Boil a big pan full of water (about 1.5 liters). Add salt, pepper and 1 tsp olive oil. Cook pasta in it al dente (firm but not hard) and then drain and keep aside. Save half a cup of the pasta water.

In a skillet heat the butter and sauté the vegetables stirring frequently. Continue for 5 minutes and then add the pasta water, salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5 more minutes and add in the pasta. Mix well. Turn the heat off and add Pesto sauce as needed. If you prefer a dominant flavor go for all of it, or else reserve some for the next day!
Serving suggestions
·         Any Italian soup/bread

·         Pesto is originally made with roasted pine nuts.
·         You can use veggies like carrots, any color bell pepper or beans.
·      Grated parmesan cheese on top of the pasta before serving increases the taste and calories by 5 times !
·         If you want to store the pesto in the refrigerator for a week, use 1 cup of olive oil in the recipe.

  Interesting fact
·         Penne is one of the most popular pasta used for pasta salads.
·         Basil has often been regarded as the “King of Herbs”.
·         Basil is used in medicinal preparations mostly for stress, asthma and diabetes.


  1. wow tats divine hv not tried with almonds.. worth trying n wow dish..

  2. This looks really delicious and healthy.

  3. First time here and the almond pesto with penne looks super delicious.

  4. I love this one - looks perfectly al dente and the sauce is succulently inviting :)

  5. Tried this and am totally in love with this sauce.

  6. Thanks for the recipe.. made this for dinner today and it came out really well.. not oily at all:)