Recipe Review

I Tried the Pasta Queen’s Pesto of Your Dreams Recipe and Here’s Why I Think It’s Probably One of Her Best Yet

published Jan 16, 2022
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The Pasta Queen's Pesto of Your Dreams Recipe
Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

When it comes to pasta, I will admit my approach has always been quite lazy. Boil the pasta, heat up the sauce, add some sausages, and finish it off with a chef’s kiss like I just created a culinary masterpiece. Now, however, things have changed a bit. As I’m getting older, I have been learning that there is a lot of fun to be had in the kitchen. Plus, when you experiment and try new things, you are likely to surprise yourself.

As a result of me embracing this excitement in the kitchen, I have found myself back with the Pasta Queen on this exciting culinary journey — and this time, she introduced me to the wonderful world of pesto! In my experience, pesto can be a little divisive. Either you love it, or you hate it — or you constantly think that nobody makes it like your grandma makes it. Well, after learning this recipe and seeing just how easy it is to make the pesto of my dreams at home, Grandma better watch her back: The Pasta Queen is here for the throne.  

Get the recipe: The Pesto of Your Dreams

How to Make the Pesto of Your Dreams 

When it comes to Italian cuisine, the freshness of the ingredients is of the utmost importance. This can make or break the dish, so you’ll want to keep that in mind when acquiring all your components.

Only a few ingredients are needed to make this masterpiece, so while you get your pasta boiling, you can also get started on the pesto sauce. Using a large bowl and an immersion blender, combine fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan and Pecorino cheeses, and top it off with extra-virgin olive oil. The amount of olive oil to use is entirely up to you, but you can start with 6 tablespoons and take it from there. Blend well until it is creamy and smooth, adding olive oil as needed until you have your desired consistency.  

Now that you have your sauce, it’s time to add your freshly cooked pasta. For this recipe, I used classic spaghetti noodles, but feel free to experiment. Pesto, however, works best with longer cuts of pasta — like bucatini, capellini, thinner spaghetti, and fettuccine — so you’ll want to opt for one of those when making yours.

As you mix your pesto, add some of your leftover pasta water. The starches in the water will add flavor as well as help fuse the pasta and sauce together. At this point, you should be ready for the final additions. Just add some basil leaves to the top and — if you’re feeling extra cheesy — some fresh-grated Parmesan to seal the deal.  

Credit: Nathan Hutsenpiller

My Honest Opinion of the Pesto of Your Dreams

I am not afraid to say it: I am ride or die for the Pasta Queen! Nadia truly captures the essence of fun in the kitchen. Her authenticity, paired with her culinary expertise, is truly a treat to experience. Even though it is just through the screen on my phone, I somehow feel connected to her, which is all we can ask for these days. Food and community have always shared a strong connection, and the fact that Nadia can bridge the two with total strangers and teach us something new is a testament to the type of chef that she is. Her pesto recipe is so simple, and she shows you exactly where you have the freedom to experiment as well as gives you the confidence to do so. It transported me right to Italy with every bite.  

3 Tips for Making the Pesto of Your Dreams 

  1. No need to add salt. For one, Parmesan cheese already contains about as much sodium as you are going to need in one serving. But really, salt should not be a dominant flavor in pesto. Add as needed once you have taken your serving.  
  2. Save pasta water. Save some of your pasta water for the end and add it to the mix when combining your sauce with the pasta. The water will add some flavor, as well as assist in pairing the two together.  
  3. Do not be afraid to use more olive oil. If you feel like you need to use more extra-virgin olive oil, go for it! In the end you are looking for your pesto to be well-blended with a creamy consistency.