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Pasta with Basil-Walnut Pesto

September 23, 2009

The start of fall brings on cooler weather, warmer clothing, and more indoor activities, which in turn can sabotage your diet. Visions of lying out by the pool are replaced by sitting in front of the fireplace or baking the first pumpkin pie of the season. It isn’t coincidental that we crave comfort food when the weather turns. To keep from sabotaging your diet with traditional high calorie comfort foods, choose healthy option made from whole-grains when craving that extra slice of apple pie.

Comfort foods are notoriously high in calories and saturated fat, but this dish will help you make a better choice for good health, while keeping the traditional flavors intact. The flavors of the cherry tomatoes and pesto combine beautifully with the whole-grain farfalle pasta in a light and simple pasta dish that works for family or casual entertaining. This pesto is so simple-just basil, walnuts, garlic, cheese and olive oil. The pesto coats the pasta nicely and its flavors remain vibrant. The walnuts are a great mix in for their added crunch and texture.

Pasta with Basil-Walnut Pesto

4 servings, 1 1/2 cups each

Basil-Walnut Pesto

Makes About 1 cup


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, (2-3 bunches)
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces, toasted
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper


Place basil, walnuts, Parmigiano-Reggiano, oil, water, garlic, salt and pepper in a food processor; pulse a few times, then process until fairly smooth, or to the desired consistency.

Pasta with Basil-Walnut Pesto

  • 8 ounces whole-wheat farfalle pasta
  • ¼ cup prepared pesto
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add farfalle and cook until al dente. Reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta and return to the pot. Heat oil and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium heat. Add cherry tomatoes and cook until it starts to break down, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add tomatoes to pasta and stir in pesto. Cover to keep warm.



One Comment leave one →
  1. September 23, 2009 9:41 pm

    i’m loving this recipe. i’m always wanting to learn new pasta dishes.

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