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Pesto Pasta, Recipe by David Lovett




Pesto is possibly one of the most popular pasta sauces and can go with many shapes and sizes of pasta, handmade or dried. Large squares of fresh pasta that have been simply boiled and tossed with the pesto is wonderful, though anything that the pesto will cling to will work, such as the spaghetti used here. Pesto really is best made fresh, but it is so simple to make. If making ahead, or storing leftovers, add to a jar, cover with a thin layer of oil to prevent oxygen spoilage, and it will keep for up to a week in the fridge. Pesto can also be dolloped onto lamb cutlets or a fillet of fish, or mixed through a salad of cannellini beans, cherry tomatoes and ricotta.



300g dried spaghetti

To serve: Extra basil leaves, pine nuts and finely grated pecorino Romano or parmesan (optional)


1 large bunch of basil, leaves picked, washed well and dried

100ml olive oil

50g (1⁄3 cup) roasted pine nuts (see note) 

1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped

80g (1 cup) finely grated pecorino Romano or parmesan (see note)


1 - Bring a large saucepan of water to a rapid boil, add spaghetti and cook until pasta is al dente (6-8 minutes).

2 - Meanwhile, for the pesto, blend the basil, oil, pine nuts and garlic in a blender (or using a hand-held blender) to a coarse paste, where you can still see pieces of the pine nuts. Scrape the mixture into a large bowl and stir through a quarter of the grated cheese (see note) until combined. Set aside a quarter of the pesto in a bowl for the child’s serve. Stir remaining cheese into the remaining mixture.

3 - Once the pasta is cooked, using tongs, transfer the child’s portion from the saucepan into the single bowl with their portion of pesto, and the remainder into the bowl with the rest of the pesto (the residual pasta water will help create

a nice sauce). Give the pasta a good mix to coat, then serve, adding extra basil, pine nuts or a sprinkling of extra cheese, if desired.



Parmesan can be salty, so add a small amount to the pesto first for your child’s serve.

Make sure your child has been introduced to nuts on advice from your doctor before introducing them to their diet. 


Big & Little: Simple Italian food for kids and grown-ups by David Lovett $38.50