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As summer starts to wind down, we have basil coming out of our ears! Cindy has an herb garden and we love to find recipes that use these fresh flavor-enhancers – especially if it involves basil. As Cindy was browsing through cookbooks that she has collected over the years, she came across this easy pasta recipe that uses basil in a homemade pesto. Since we love pesto and pasta, we decided to give it a try! (And it was DELICIOUS. That’s right – so DELICIOUS that we had to use all caps to describe it!)

Basil Pesto Pasta | Junior League of Denver
The smell of this dish alone is to-die-for. The flavor is really the perfect mix of fresh ingredients. It tastes homemade, home-grown and is fabulous for summer entertaining. Even Peter, who is not a pesto-lover enjoyed this dish! As for the Nugget, he wouldn’t even look at it – but hey, he’s 8. He sticks to a diet that doesn’t involve things that are naturally green in color.

IMG_5121Pesto Pasta – Junior League of Denver

IMG_4968Start by putting the basil, garlic cloves, salt and pine nuts in the food processor. If you don’t have a food processor, a blender will do the trick.

IMG_4971Blend these ingredients until finely chopped.

IMG_4972Slowly add the oil and blend. Add the cheeses and blend again.

IMG_4982This is heaven in a bowl! If you make too much, don’t worry about it. The pesto can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 days, and tastes amazing on sandwiches or anything else you can dream of.

IMG_5081Prepare the pasta, and in a heated bowl, spread a little of the pesto. The warmth of the bowl will release the mouthwatering aroma of the fresh pesto.

IMG_5090Place the warm pasta in the bowl and mix in the pesto.

IMG_5116Add as much pesto to the pasta as you like. We also served the pesto on the side for those who want to add more to their dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan or Romano cheese and eat it up!

Here’s the recipe:
2 cups fresh basil
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons freshly grated Romano cheese
12 ounces vermicelli (we used Buitoni fresh Angel hair pasta)

Place basil, garlic, salt and nuts in blender. Blend at high speed until finely chopped. Add oil in a slow steady stream. Can be frozen at this point. Add cheeses and blend until smooth. Refrigerate if made ahead.

In heated serving dish, spread a couple of teaspoons of pesto in the bowl to release the flavors and coat the bottom of the bowl. Toss warm pasta with basil mixture until thoroughly coated. Sprinkle with Parmesan and serve immediately.

Nom. nom. nom.