pesto pasta

Super Speedy 10 Minute Pesto!

Most kids love pasta. It’s super quick for a weeknight dinner – this recipe takes 10 minutes from start to finish! The pesto is also ideal for making in advance and stores well in the fridge for up to a week.

I have used a fairly standard recipe here, but you could easily substitute the pine nuts for walnuts or cashews, or add rocket, chilli or spinach too. I always add lemon to my pesto because I feel it adds a little something extra, but feel free to leave it out if you’re not a fan.

Ingredients:

1 large basil plant
Juice of 1 lemon
1 large clove of garlic
A handful of pine nuts
Grated parmesan cheese
Olive oil
500g Pasta 
Seasoning

(Optional: spinach, rocket, chilli flakes)

You’ll notice I have not included measurement for my ingredients here. That's because it’s not an exact science, add as much or as little of each as you like. You will also find that you’ll need to add the olive oil a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency. It needs to be thin enough to coat the pasta but still keep some bite and texture.

Method:

Step One

Add the basil, pine nuts, half of the parmesan, crushed garlic cloves, lemon juice seasoning and olive oil to a blender. (Fancy people use a pestle and mortar. I don’t.) Blend slowly, ensuring the nuts are completely crushed if offering to a young child or baby. Leave some whole if your children are older and you prefer a more rustic consistency. Add the olive oil little and often as you are blending.

Step Two

Meanwhile, cook pasta of your choice. Fusilli is the perfect option for babies over 6 months as the shape is ideal for their grip. Spaghetti is more of a challenge but great fun all the same. When draining, retain at least 2 tablespoons of the cooking water as this will help to warm the sauce and coat the pasta more evenly.

Step Three

Stir in the pesto, serve immediately with the remaining parmesan and some fresh basil leaves to garnish.

I make this recipe at least once every few weeks and always keep a jar full in my fridge for emergency weeknight dinners. It’s also amazing spread in pitta bread with mozzarella and grilled or spread on top of salmon in foil and baked in the oven. Enjoy!