How To Make Bright Green Pesto Pasta Sauce
If you have ever tried making pesto sauce only to have it turn brown within hours then you will love my pesto pasta recipe. My pesto sauce stays bright and green for days in the fridge while preserving the pleasant kick of the strong flavours of basil, garlic and cheese.
Watch the full recipe here –
My pesto pasta sauce is not authentic Italian but rather it is modified to suit my Indian palate. The consistency is creamier and less chunky and I have used ingredients like cashews and processed cheese to replace some of the traditional Italian ingredients. I sometimes also add 1 or 2 green chillies to give this pesto pasta sauce a spicy kick ( Mama Mia! Italians will kill me :P)
The secret to keep pesto pasta sauce green for longer is to blanch the basil in boiling water before making the sauce. Blanching the basil also removes some of the pungency of the basil leaves and makes it mild and pleasant.
There are 2 main types of basil cultivars available in the Indian market the sweet basil and Genovese basil. The sweet basil has plump waxy rounded forest green leaves whereas the Genovese basil has pointy dark green leaves with ridges at the edges. The Genovese basil also browns faster and has a more pungent flavour.
Genovese basil is the more commonly available basil variety so blanching it is important to mellow down its pungency. Combined with the creaminess of the cheese this pesto pasta sauce recipe is a sure shot winner!
Usually, pesto is made using pine nuts or “chilgoza” in hindi. But they are very expensive. So, I have used cashewnuts instead. Their pleasant creamy texture with slight sweet notes really compliment the pesto pasta sauce well. A lot of Indian chefs use walnuts instead of pinenuts but I find that cashews work much better in the recipe as walnuts may sometimes have a slight bitterness or rancid flavour which can affect the taste of the pesto pasta sauce negatively.
Always use good quality extra virgin olive oil to make pesto. Extra virgin oil is dark green in colour and has lots of flavour as opposed to pale yellow pomace olive oil which is much cheaper in comparison.
If you can get your hands on good quality European parmesan cheese then use that for this pesto pasta sauce recipe to lend it a deep umami cheesy flavour, if not then the grated American parmesan style cheese or Indian processed cheese can also be used. Now a days lots of Indian brands like KODAI cheese have come up with really flavourful parmesan cheese which will not burn a hole through your pocket.
Since I am making a creamy pesto pasta with this pesto sauce I have kept its consistency creamy. For that I have added cheese spread as it blends easily. If you want to make chunky pesto sauce then you can omit the cheese spread and reduce the quantity of cashews. You can also replace the cheese spread with grated cheese cubes.
If you like Italian dishes you can try my spinach and ricotta cheese ravioli with a creamy tomato sauce which is totally divine !! you will find the recipe here.
I have also uploaded a video for my spinach and ricotta cheese ravioli which has more than 50k views on youtube, you can watch it here.Print
Learn how to make this bright green pesto sauce that stays bright green for days in the fridge !
For the pesto sauce
Italian Basil – 1 cup, tightly packed
cashew nuts – 40 gms or ¼ cup
garlic – 3- cloves or 1 tbsp minced
extra virgin olive oil – ¼ cup
cheese spread – 2 or 3 Tbsp
Parmesan cheese – 1 Tbsp
Salt to taste
For the pasta (1 portion)
olive oil – 1 tbsp
minced Garlic – 1 tsp
Pesto sauce 2 Tbsp
Fresh cream or milk – 1 Tbsp (or as needed)
Boiled pasta – 1 cup
- First clean and wash the basil. Remove all brown and bruised leaves and thick stems.
- In a pot bring water to a rolling boil. Then dunk the basil leaves in. Cook for 2 mins or just until the leaves soften.
- Then immediately transfer the leaves into a bowl of cold water to stop the cooking process.
- Squeeze the basil thoroughly to remove all the water before making pesto.
- In a blender add the squeezed basil and all the other ingredients and blend well with some water. If you don’t want a creamy sauce then omit water and increase the olive oil to ease the blending process. This will yield a chunkier pesto sauce.
- Add some salt to taste at the end.
- Now to make the pasta, in a pan heat some olive oil. Add minced garlic and saute it.
- Then add the pesto sauce and cook till the colour darkens. Adjust the consistency of the sauce with milk and cream.
Add the cooked pasta and cook till the sauce coats the pasta well.
- My pesto sauce is creamy and emulsified which is quite different from the traditional chunky pesto sauce but you can use it in the exact same way.
- You can store the leftover pesto sauce for 2 weeks in the fridge.
- To use up the entire batch of pesto sauce and to make pasta for 3 people you will need 2 cups raw pasta.
- You can also add any vegetables of your choice to the pasta like boiled broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, etc.
Keywords: pesto sauce pasta, pesto sauce, bright green pesto sauce.