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10-minute pesto pasta is made with fresh basil, parmesan, pine nuts, and olive oil. It brings incredible flavor to your pasta dish and is ready in no time at all! 

Nothing is quite as impressive (or delicious!) as some homemade pesto! For more pesto-inspired recipes, be sure to try Easy Baked Pesto Chicken, Pesto Pasta Salad, or this Basil Pesto Chicken Sandwich.

Top-down view of pesto pasta served in a gray bowl, garnished with herbs.

Quick and Easy Pesto Pasta

The Kohler Food and Wine Festival is a four-day extravaganza of food, good wine, and plenty of fun activities. We loved attending the events featuring the celebrity chefs. Fabio Viviani was such a blast to watch and so much fun. He showed us how to make some homemade pasta and an easy pesto. We all got to taste what he had created and it stood out as one of my favorites! I love when you can create something so easy and have it be so fresh and full of flavor. He is an incredible chef and has some amazing recipes in his book. What an experience to be able to meet celebrity chefs!

The recipe that I am sharing with you today is the creamy pesto pasta that he created. I love it because it is ready in just 10 minutes! It can be used as a simple side or you can easily add some protein in (this shredded chicken is perfect!) to make it the main dish! Either way, you’re going to absolutely LOVE the fresh, nutty, and savory flavor of this homemade pesto. It’s so much better than store-bought! For more tasty recipes inspired by Italian cuisine, find my full list here!

Alyssa taking a picture with Fabio Viviani.

Ingredients for Pesto Pasta

Since this recipe has such a simple ingredient list, the key to making the best pesto is to make sure everything is as fresh as possible! This is one of my favorite pasta dishes because I usually have everything needed to make it on hand! All measurements can be found below in the recipe card.

  • Basil Leaves: This gives pesto its signature fresh and aromatic flavor.
  • Garlic: You can never go wrong with garlic! This gets blended with the basil, nuts, and cheese to add the perfect savory flavor to the sauce.
  • Toasted Pine Nuts: Add a soft nutty flavor to the pesto.
  • Parmesan Cheese: If you really want to take your pesto to the next level, try grating your own parmesan! The flavor is unmatched.
  • Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: Olive oil helps everything blend together smoothly. I love adding it because it has the best earthy flavor, too! I would recommend using a high-quality, extra virgin olive oil here because it really adds a great flavor to the dish.
  • Salt and Pepper: Add to taste!
  • Pasta: I used shell pasta to hold in the delicious sauce, but feel free to use your favorite kind here! Penne, ziti, and classic spaghetti are all great choices!
4-photo collage of pesto ingredients being blended into a paste.

How to Make Homemade Pesto

This is such a quick and easy meal to make for your family. Everyone is going to love it! It really doesn’t get any easier than this. Simply blend the ingredients together, season to taste, and toss it with your favorite pasta!

  1. Add Ingredients: In a food processor combine basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt and pepper.
  2. Blend: Pulse until desired chunkiness.  Adjust to desired seasonings.  
  3. Combine: Heat pesto in a medium skillet and toss with hot pasta.

What Can I Serve With Pesto?

Pesto is usually tossed with pasta, but it’s also a delicious sauce for meat, fish, chicken, and vegetables. Just spread the pesto onto salmon or chicken! If it’s too thick, you can thin it out a bit with olive oil until you reach your desired consistency.

Shell pasta tossed with pesto in a white and blue skillet.

Tips, Tricks, and Variations

As easy as pesto is to make, if you keep these simple tips in mind, you can really take it to the next level! If you’re anything like me, you’ll want to make it all the time because it’s so incredibly tasty!

  • Wash Your Basil: Before you add your basil to a food processor or blender, make sure it’s clean and free of any dirt. Be sure to wash your greens in cold water, they’ll wilt if you wash them in warm water.
  • Use Other Nuts: Although pesto is made traditionally with pine nuts, you can substitute these for pecans, pistachios, or walnuts.
  • Swap Out Cheese: You’ll want to use harder cheeses here instead of melty cheeses like mozzarella. If you don’t use parmesan, I suggest trying out shredded asiago or romano.
  • Making Pesto Without Nuts: If you have a nut allergy, you can substitute the pine nuts for sunflower seeds.
  • Make it Vegan: This pesto recipe is great for vegetarian diets, but if you want to make it vegan, simply swap out the parmesan for dairy-free cheese!

Storing Leftovers

The best way to store 10-minute pesto pasta is in the refrigerator. Homemade pesto will keep for about a week or so. An unopened bottle of pesto will keep for about 3 weeks and an opened bottle will keep for about two weeks in the fridge.

  • In the Refrigerator: Pesto tossed with cooked pasta will last for 2-3 days in an airtight container. Pesto stored alone in an airtight jar will last for 1 week.
  • In the Freezer: Store leftover pesto in a freezer bag for up to 6 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight before use.
Closeup of a fork skewering multiple shell-shaped noodles.

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10-Minute Pesto Pasta

By: Alyssa Rivers
10 minute pesto pasta is made with fresh basil, parmesan, pine nuts, and olive oil.  It brings incredible flavor to your pasta dish and is ready in no time at all! 
Prep Time: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 8 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 5


  • 4 Cups Basil leaves packed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup Toasted Pine nuts
  • 1 Cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 Cup Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 16 ounce pasta cooked and drained


  • In a food processor combine basil, garlic, toasted pine nuts, parmesan cheese, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Pulse until desired chunkiness.  Adjust to desired seasonings.  
  • Heat pesto in a medium skillet and toss with hot pasta.  


Recipe Inspired by Fabio


Calories: 804kcalCarbohydrates: 69gProtein: 20gFat: 50gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 5gMonounsaturated Fat: 33gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 328mgPotassium: 285mgFiber: 3gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 1169IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 294mgIron: 2mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Dinner, Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!
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About Alyssa Rivers

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Alyssa Rivers and the food blogger behind The Recipe Critic. The blog launched in 2012 as a place to share my passion for cooking. I love trying new things and testing them out with my family. Each recipe is tried and true, family-tested and approved.

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