If you’ve eaten dinner at my house a few times, chances are good you’ve been fed Pesto Spaghetti. It’s one of my favorite recipes and I’ve been making it for years and years. A friend taught me her version of this during my college days, back before I knew what pesto was, and it’s evolved ever since. I love making it for company because it’s quick to throw together and requires very little time in the kitchen so I actually get to visit with my guests instead of cooking the whole time. It’s also mindless enough that I can visit while I’m cooking and not risk screwing it up.
This is one of the most versatile pasta dishes I make. You can use any kind of pesto, fresh or packaged, you can use any fresh veggies, or substitute frozen veggies if that’s more convenient. You can make it with meat or no meat. You can use any kind of noodle. And it is wonderful left over the next day. I’ve even used the leftovers as a base for a frittata the next morning.
A big bunch of fresh asparagus and some baby sweet peppers worked beautifully in this. I still had Hazelnut Pesto left from a recipe I made last week so I used that as well and it was absolutely lovely.
3 cloves garlic, minced or sliced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional – leave out if you don’t like the extra heat)
1 bunch of fresh asparagus, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 cup chopped red or orange bell peppers
1/2 cup or more of basil pesto
1 can (15 oz.) of diced tomatoes with juice
1 package of thin spaghetti (or any other pasta)
Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup to mix in and more for sprinkling on top)
Salt & pepper to taste
Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper and cook for about a minute. Add chopped veggies. Stir and cook for about a minute. Add pesto and tomatoes and stir to combine. Turn down heat a bit and cook until pasta is done, stirring occasionally. Drain pasta and add to pan. Add 1/2 cup parmesan and a pinch of salt & pepper. Toss to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve with additional parmesan to sprinkle on top.