Basil has been growing so well in my garden this summer and I’ve been making lots of pesto. You can mix pesto in with pasta for a nice meal, but I’ve seen some different ideas for creamier basil sauces and decided to experiment. Sometimes I add extra lemon juice to my pesto for extra lemon flavor, so I thought a lemon-basil sauce would be good to try. It turned out nice and creamy, and it’s great served over whatever type of pasta you like to use. I used penne pasta, but angel hair pasta would be good, too. After putting some of this sauce over your pasta, just sprinkle on some parmesan cheese, add a few cherry tomato slices, a few basil leaves, and you’re all set to enjoy a great meal! This recipe makes about 4 servings.
CREAMY LEMON-BASIL PASTA
- 1 (13.25 -ounce) package of your favorite pasta (I used whole grain penne)
- 3 cups well-packed fresh basil leaves
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/3-1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/3-1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/3-1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2-1 tsp. salt, or to taste
- extra shredded parmesan cheese for garnish
- 4 cherry tomatoes (or small regular tomatoes), sliced, for garnish
- basil leaves for garnish (optional)
Prepare pasta according to package directions. In blender, add basil, garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, nuts, parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, and salt; puree ingredients until smooth. (NOTE: the sauce is not cooked, so it won’t be warm, but you can remove the sauce from your blender and put in a microwaveable container to heat it before spooning over pasta if you want. I just used it right from the blender without heating it.)
Divide pasta onto 4 serving plates and spoon the creamy lemon-basil sauce equally on the 4 portions. Sprinkle each serving with parmesan cheese and top with tomato slices. If desired, garnish with additional basil leaves. (Note: If you like a lot of sauce with your pasta, you may want to double the recipe, or make an extra half portion).
Another way you can serve this is to mix the sauce in with the pasta and toss, evenly coating the pasta. Then you can serve it either in one big pasta bowl or on individual plates, garnishing with parmesan cheese, tomato slices, and basil leaves.
This could also be used as a veggie dip, because it’s a thicker sauce. You could serve it in a small bowl with a platter of fresh veggies for a healthy and tasty appetizer!