Dinner/ Featured/ Lunch/ Vegetarian

Papa’s Pesto

Kids love pasta. There is no doubt about that!

This recipe has become a summer favorite around the Spatulatta kitchen. It starts in the garden when we plant the basil plants in spring. The anticipation of watching the plants mature is always a great topic of conversation around here. When are their enough leaves to make up the cups needed for pesto!

The hardest part is washing and picking the basil leaves but if you have lots of hands, the work goes quickly.


  • A blender or food processor
  • A spatula


Papa's Pesto

Print Recipe
Serves: 6


  • 2 cups of basil leaves - firmly packed
  • 6 cloves of garlic - peeled
  • 4 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup of olive oil - extra virgin is best



Put the pasta water on to boil.


Wash your basil and pat it dry. Pull the leaves from the stem and take the tail off each leaf.


Have an adult or older sibling put the blade into the food processor. The blade is very sharp so it should be handled with care.


Because we started with chunks of Parmesan cheese, we put them in the food processor first and "processed" them until they looked like grated cheese. If you are using already-grated Parmesan you can add it when you add the pine nuts.


Pack the basil leaves into a measuring cup. Pack them firmly but not too tight.


Put the basil leaves into the blender. Process them a little.


Measure the olive oil and pour it into the food processor or blender. The weight of the oil should be just enough to press down on the leaves and move them all the way to the bottom. If not, open the blender and scrape the sides with a spatula, pushing the unchopped leaves down to the bottom as you go.


Add the pine nuts and process again. Make sure everything is mixed well.


Put the dry pasta into the boiling water. Check the instructions on the package and set a timer.


Put the pesto in a bowl. It's just a short wait until the pasta is done.


Have your colander ready to drain the pasta. See step #3 through #6 of Perfect Pasta.


Pour the hot pasta into a bowl and take it, and the pesto, to the table. That way each person can help themselves to the amount of pasta and pesto they want.


Mix the pesto and pasta in your bowl and enjoy.

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