Pasta, Deconstructed Pesto

Pasta, Deconstructed Pesto

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  • Prep Time


  • Total Time


  • Servings



  • Kosher salt

  • ½

    cup pine nuts

  • 1

    lb. dried fusilli or radiatore pasta

  • 6

    Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

  • 8

    cloves garlic, very thinly sliced

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 4

    oz. coarsely grated Pecorino Romano

  • 2

    cups (about 2-½ oz.) packed sweet basil leaves or your favorite basil variety, cut into ½-inch-wide chiffonade (to yield about 1-½ cups)


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts in a 10-inch skillet over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until golden in places, about 5 minutes. Pour onto a plate and set aside to cool. When the water boils, add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. While the pasta is cooking, gently heat the olive oil and sliced garlic over low heat in the same skillet used for the nuts, stirring frequently, until the garlic starts to turn golden, 4 to 8 min. Remove from the heat and stir in 3/4 tsp. kosher salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper. When the pasta is done, scoop out 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid and reserve. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Pour the garlic and olive oil over the hot pasta and toss. Pour the reserved pasta water into the skillet, swirl it around, and pour it over the pasta. Toss well. Add the pine nuts and cheese and toss again until thoroughly mixed. Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool for 5 min. Then, just before serving, toss in the basil. Pass extra cheese around with a grater for those who want more.


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