In the middle of a frigid winter it is a good idea to remind yourself that summer will inevitably follow. A bright pesto, fragrant with fresh basil will melt any icicles that have started to grow over your increasingly cynical soul and evoke those warm days to come.
So while this may seem like a summertime recipe, with the availability of fresh basil in our grocery stores year round, it’s an anytime recipe. And a quick and easy one at that!
- Whole almonds
- Fresh basil
- Kosher salt
- Olive oil
- Rigatoni or other favorite pasta
- Fresh green beans
How To Make It!
Toast the nuts. Spread almonds in an even layer in a medium frying pan and place over medium heat. Toast, stirring frequently, until almonds are fragrant and golden. Remove to a plate and let cool.
Make a nut butter. I learned this pesto-making method from my friend Aida and I’ve never looked back. The first step to making a silky pesto sauce is to first create a loose nut butter with the nuts. Combine 1/4 cup of the cooled almonds, the oil, garlic, and salt in the bowl of a food processor (or Vitamix if you have one) fitted with the blade attachment. Start grinding the nuts on low speed until they start to break up then increase the speed to medium and keep processing until the mixture is a paste consistency.
Add basil. Wash the basil leaves but don’t dry—you want the leaves to be wet. Tear the larger leaves into smaller pieces and add to the food processor and pulse just enough to make a smooth sauce. If it is too thick, add a couple teaspoons of cold water. Taste and add more salt if needed.
Cook pasta and beans. Bring a large stock pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add rigatoni and cook according to package directions. Add green beans during the last 3-4 minutes of cooking. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking liquid then drain.
Combine. Scrape pesto into the pot you cooked the pasta in. Add the reserved water, pasta, and green beans. Toss to coat in the sauce.
Serve. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Serve in bowls topped with the remaining chopped nuts and a sprinkling of chile flakes.
More Pasta Recipes To Try!
- The Best Pasta Fagioli Recipe (silky tomato broth, beans, and pasta—yum!)
- Pasta with Braised Chicken and Sausage (fall-apart tender chicken and savory sausage)
- Spaghetti with Tomato-Mushroom Sauce (the meaty mushrooms are so good)
- Homemade Egg Noodles in Spring Vegetable Soup (chewy egg noodles in broth)
- Chicken with Artichokes and Angel Hair Pasta (delicate and perfect for spring)
Homemade Is Always The Answer
Why buy a jar of pesto when making it yourself is so easy? Let me know when you make it by snapping a pic and tagging me on Instagram @katesbestrecipes so I can see or leave me a comment below (don’t forget to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating) !
Rigatoni with Almond Pesto and Green Beans
- 1/2 cup whole almonds
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves loosely packed
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 pound rigatoni
- 8 ounces fresh green beans cut into 1-inch pieces
- Heat oven to 300°F. Spread almonds on a oven-safe frying pan and toast until golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Cool completely.
- Combine 1/4 cup nuts, basil, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. With motor running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup of the olive oil until a smooth sauce has formed. Chop remaining nuts and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add rigatoni and cook according to package instructions. Add green beans during the last 3-4 minutes of cooking. Drain, saving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
- Add 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water to the pasta pot. Add pasta, pesto and green beans. Toss to combine. Add more cooking liquid if it seems dry. Taste and add more salt if necessary. Serve with chopped almonds on top.