Creamy Pesto Sauce Recipe
Making the perfect pesto is something you can easily do with this creamy pesto sauce recipe. With a few fresh ingredients and just 10 minutes of time, you can quickly make a delicious pasta sauce that you are sure to love!
Creamy and Delicious Pesto Sauce
Pesto sauce has always seemed like one of those time consuming, difficult pasta sauces that only professional chefs know how to make corrections. Once I started looking into how to make this sauce, I was surprised by how wrong my intuitions were. It is actually quite easy to make!
This recipe was created to help everyone see how attainable a perfect basil pasta sauce really is. All you need are a few fresh ingredients, a blender or food processor and ten minutes of prep time. You will have a creamy, delicious sauce in no time!
How to Make the Perfect Pesto Sauce
To make an amazing pesto, all you really need is a powerful blender or food processor. I prefer to use a food processor as they tend to be smaller and more effective in making a small batch of ingredients smooth. However, both kitchen tools will work! Here is what you need to do:
- Pulse the garlic cloves and walnuts in the food processor until they are very finely chopped. You want to make them almost into a smooth puree.
- Add the fresh basil, salt and pepper to the food processor as well and pulse. Once again, you want to try to get the basil leaves chopped as finely as possible and essentially pureed.
- With the food processor running, slowly stream in the olive oil. Adding the olive oil while the food processor is on will help make the mix creamy and smooth rather than separated.
- The grated parmesan cheese is added last and just blended until it has mixed in well.
That is all you need to do in order to get a delicious, perfect pesto! As you can see, there is no cook time, no chopping fresh basil or other ingredients by hand- the food processor takes care of everything.
Creamy and Smooth without Cream
The trick to getting a mix that has a creamy texture all lies in how you puree the ingredients. There is no actual cream in this recipe but that smooth mouth-feel is simply created by proper ingredient blending.
Pureeing the ingredients as much as possible before adding the olive oil is an essential part of this recipe. You want to make sure you get the walnuts, basil, and garlic as smooth as possible. As you puree in the food processor, remember to stop several times and scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that all the little pieces are incorporated.
The next step to making this pesto pasta sauce is to slowly add the olive oil. When you stream the oil in with the food processor on, you will be creating an emulsion. An emulsion occurs when you combine two ingredients that usually do not stick together, like oil and water. By blending them at a rapid rate, you can get the molecules of the olive oil into the other ingredients, making a smooth and creamy mixture. It is really quite cool!
Sure, you could add a half cup heavy cream to give it a creamy texture but, if you follow the directions closely and manage to create that amazing emulsion, you will have a beautiful smooth pasta sauce, no cream needed.
Uses for Pesto Sauce
There are so many different ways you can use this no cream recipe. Here are a few different things we have done with it but if you find any more exciting uses, send us an email or leave a message in the comments below. We love to hear your ideas!
- Pour the cream sauce over pasta, toss the pasta to coat it completely, top with about 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese and then enjoy.
- Add chopped grilled chicken to pasta, toss with the pesto and enjoy a delicious pesto chicken pasta dish! Pasta with chicken is a perfect complete meal with lots of healthy protein and filling pasta noodles.
- Pour a little bit of the sauce onto a salad and use it as a dressing.
- Skip the pasta in your basil pesto pasta chicken and just enjoy the chicken with the sauce. This is a flavorful way to liven up your chicken. You can even use the sauce as a marinade and then grill the chicken after it has had time to sit in the marinade to absorb the flavors.
As you can see, this recipe is super versatile and an easy way to add a delicious basil and parmesan cheese taste to almost anything.
Here are a few questions we frequently get asked about this sauce. Hopefully, these questions and answers will help you make this recipe perfectly!
What is creamy pesto made of?
Our pesto cream sauce actually contains no cream at all. It is simply smooth and thick due to the excessive blending and olive oil emulsion that is created. The main ingredients in our recipe are fresh basil, walnuts, garlic, parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
How do you thicken pesto sauce?
If you find that your mix is a little too runny or you would like to make it thicker, add some more nuts and also some more grated cheese. These two ingredients will help thicken the sauce and stick to the original flavor profile of the recipe. You can also add extra fresh basil if you have it on hand- the more basil the better!
How do you use pesto sauce?
Using this sauce is very easy as you can simply toss it on anything! Heat up the sauce and add it to your favorite pasta dish. Skip the heat, keep the sauce cool and use it as a salad dressing. Make chicken pesto pasta by tossing grilled chicken into the mix. For even more ideas, see our paragraph above about even more uses for this delicious pesto cream sauce.
We hope that this recipe is exactly what you are looking for and that it makes many amazing meals for you and your family. Enjoy!Print
A simple walnut pesto that is the perfect addition to any pasta dish.
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 8 cloves fresh garlic
- 5 cups fresh basil, packed (or 2 1/2 cups basil and 2 1/2 cups substitution, like kale or blanched broccoli)
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Process walnuts and garlic in food processor until well combined
- add basil, salt and pepper and pulse until basil is finely chopped
- With the blade running, add olive oil slowly until the pesto is smooth
- add Parmesan cheese and blend 30 more seconds.
- Use in your favorite recipe right away or freeze for later use. Enjoy!
- If you have an extra cup or two leftover, pour it into ice cube molds, cover and freeze. Anytime you want chicken pasta pesto or a fresh basil salad dressing, pop a cube out, heat it over medium heat and then use! You may find that the mix separates a little bit when you heat it but the delicious taste will still be there!
- Many people like a little extra salt and pepper in this recipe. Taste the mix and then add salt and pepper to taste. Start with just a little, taste and then add a little more as needed- it is always good to try the mix after each addition.
- When you heat the sauce, you may find that it separates. This is because the heat can break the emulsion you made when you streamed the olive oil into the food processor. This can take away from that creamy texture you are looking for. The best idea is to toss the mix directly onto hot pasta or chicken rather than heat it up first.