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The Perfect Penne Pesto Pasta

Perfect Penne Pesto Pasta is one of the easiest dishes to make that tastes great.  Have you had pesto pasta at home and it didn’t taste as good as you’ve had in a restaurant?  Yours had a stronger pesto and oil flavor, but the restaurant’s pesto tasted rich and creamy?

“It’s a comfort to always find pasta in the cupboard and garlic and parsley in the garden.” – Alice Waters

I know that happened to me.  One simple ingredient changed the entire flavor of my pesto sauce and made it restaurant-quality.  I had to share this recipe with you because now you can make it perfectly, like you were professionally trained as a chef in Italy.

Cooking isn’t hard, as long as you have the right recipe and fresh ingredients.  You can add cooked chicken or grilled shrimp and make this a wonderful dinner with a side salad.

I have a link to the homemade pesto sauce I used (which is part of this recipe), but if you’re pressed on time feel free to use store-bought pesto.

Perfect Penne Pesto Pasta

Here’s Perfect Penne Pesto Pasta Recipe: 

Perfect Penne Pesto Pasta

  • Difficulty: Easy
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      • 4 quarts of filtered water
      • 1 1/2 tablespoons sea salt
      • 16 ounces penne pasta
      • 1 cup pesto (homemade pesto recipe here) 
      • 1/3 cup heavy cream
      • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
      • Fresh ground pepper to taste


        • Bring water to boil in a large stockpot.
        • Add the salt and pasta and stir until pasta is submerged.
        • Boil for about 12 minutes until pasta is done.
        • Reserve two tablespoons of the water and then drain pasta.
        • Return pasta to the stockpot.
        • Combine the pesto, cream and reserved water in a bowl and mix well.
        • Pour mixture into the stockpot and toss.
        • Place pasta on plates and add freshly ground Parmesan cheese to the top and pepper to taste.

Tips for cooking perfect pasta:

1) Use one gallon of water for each pound of pasta.

2) Bring the water to boil before putting pasta in.  Cover the pot to make the water boil faster.

3) Cook uncovered, and stir often for the first couple of minutes.  Stir every few minutes after that.

4) Use the recommended time for cooking length on the package.

5) Check for doneness by biting into a piece of pasta.  It should be tender, but slightly firm in the center.

6) When the pasta is ready, drain in a colander without rinsing (unless recipe calls for it.)

Now that you read the recipe, you’ve probably realized the secret to making an amazing pasta dish is the heavy cream.  I found this recipe in the Longaberger Fresh From the Pantry Cookbook.

The great thing about this recipe is if you like more pesto flavor change the ratio to less cream.  If you like a lighter pesto taste, add less pesto.

Longaberger is that company that specialized in artisan baskets.  They had a restaurant at their location and the recipes in the book are from that restaurant.

We’ve reached the end of Perfect Penne Pesto Pasta.   I hope try it and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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Perfect Penne Pesto Pasta


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