Homemade pesto and penne
Pesto presto!

pesto & Penne

With fresh, aromatic basil leaves as its base, pesto adds emerald green color and the taste of summer to pasta. The lemon really brightens the flavor of the pesto. Add the pesto to pasta, chicken, fish or veggies — it complements every dish it meets.

Why buy premade jarred pesto when homemade is so easy? Toss with pasta and you have dinner on the table in no time.

Homemade basil pesto over penne recipe

Serves 5


  • 3 cups washed, dried, fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup Italian dressing
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • A squeeze of fresh lemon, about a tablespoon
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 (13.25 ounce) box of penne pasta


  1. Place the basil leaves, 1/2 cup Italian dressing, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and lemon juice in a food processor or blender; cover.
  2. Process until well blended.
  3. Cook penne according to directions.
  4. Toss pasta with 3-4 tablespoons pesto. Add chicken if desired. Serve hot or cold.


Store pesto in a tightly covered container in refrigerator for up to one week. You can also pour prepared pesto into freezer weight zip-closed bags. Store in freezer until ready to use. Thaw in refrigerator before using.

More pesto recipes

Stuffed chicken with pesto and goat cheese
Easy pesto pizza bites
Vegetarian meatballs with pesto cream sauce


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