Creamy Lemon-Basil Pasta

I grew some basil in a pot this summer so I could make pesto, and it’s still doing well even though the weather has cooled some. I love having pesto spread on a slice of good sourdough bread, but pesto mixed with pasta (instead of tomato sauce) also makes a good dish. I wanted to try making a creamier basil sauce, and because I usually add extra lemon juice to my homemade pesto for extra lemon flavor,  I thought a creamy lemon-basil sauce would be a great thing to try making.

This sauce turned out as nice and creamy as I had hoped and it’s great served over or mixed in with whatever type of pasta you like to use. It’s not a cooked sauce, but if you mix it into or spoon it over your hot, cooked pasta, you’ll have a hot meal. Or you can mix it into or spoon it over cooled pasta for a creamy pesto-pasta salad. I used penne pasta, but angel hair pasta would be good to use too. After you mix in or spoon some of this sauce over your pasta, just sprinkle on some parmesan cheese, add a few tomato or cherry tomato slices and a few fresh basil leaves, and you’re all set to enjoy a great meal!

Creamy Lemon-Basil Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

CREAMY LEMON-BASIL PASTA by NancyC                            Creamy Lemon Basil Pasta @ NancyC

Makes 4 servings

  • 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 (depending how strong of a garlic flavor you want)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup lemon juice (use 1/2 cup if you want a stronger lemon flavor)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup ricotta cheese (use 1/2 cup for a creamier sauce)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • Extra shredded parmesan cheese for garnish
  • 4 cherry tomatoes (or small regular tomatoes), sliced, for garnish
  • Additional 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 over 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.

Recipe from NancyC |

This sauce 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!

Are you a fan of basil and pesto, and what kind of recipes do you like to make with basil?

Sharing at Inspire Me MondayHappiness is HomemadeFiesta FridayMeal Plan Monday.


6 thoughts on “Creamy Lemon-Basil Pasta


    I am a big pesto fan as evident with the number of recipes I have on my blog. I found a lemon basil with varigated leaves that never flowered (Ocimum x citriodorum). I liked it with fish a lot but wasn’t so sure about anything else. Thanks for sharing your end of harvest recipe with Fiesta Friday!.



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