Pesto Pasta (Deconstructed) – Five Ingredient Friday

Pesto Pasta Recipe, Deconstructed Pesto Pasta Recipe, Basil, Pine Nuts, Garlic, Parmesan Cheese, Pasta

Pesto Pasta (Deconstructed)

This super simple pasta recipe is a “deconstructed” version of Pesto Pasta. I’ll tell you what that means in a minute…but if you love pesto pasta, this recipe has all of the elements and flavours of a traditional pesto pasta without the mess of making pesto. And it is a Five Ingredient Friday dish. Perfect! 

“Deconstructing” something culinarily speaking means to use the same ingredients, prepare them in a form different from the original, then recombined them. The look is different, but when you eat the dish you get the same flavour sensation as the original. Basically, it’s just fancy-pants chef-speak. *wink*

But, when I was thinking of Pesto Pasta as a Five Ingredient Friday meal, I realized that if I used prepared pesto and mixed it with pasta, I’d only have two ingredients. If, however, I broke the pesto down to all of the ingredients (and since oil doesn’t count), I could eke out a five ingredient recipe. This, folks, is what you call being “creatively lazy.” *wink*

Mr. Saucy and I both enjoy pesto. Every year I make and freeze pesto from homegrown basil plants. This is so easy to do, you won’t even believe it! If you have an abundance of basil, you need to do it too! Here’s how: Just make your pesto as you always would…basil, toasted pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and garlic all ground in a food processor, or with a mortar and pestle. Drizzle in enough olive oil to make a smooth paste. Then, place the pesto in ice-cube trays (I use my mini muffin pans) and freeze them. When the pesto is frozen, remove the pesto from the trays, put in a ziplock bag and place back in the freezer.

This works really well for preserving plain ol’ basil too. Just use the same process, but omit all of the ingredients except the basil and olive oil. These single portion pieces are great to have on hand for pasta; I also use them to drop into sauces and soups for a fresh-from-the-garden taste of basil during the winter.

For any of you who have made and have on hand the recipe I posted for Garlic Confit, this meal just got simpler! Go you! If you haven’t made Garlic Confit, what are you waiting for? Do it! Anytime a recipe calls for sautéed or roasted garlic, you’ll already have it prepared.

Of course, you don’t have to have made the Garlic Confit in order to make this recipe, you just have to sauté some garlic in the olive oil you’re using for the pasta. It’s simple and takes just minutes.

Here are your Five Ingredients for today:

        • Pasta 
        • Garlic
        • Pine Nuts
        • Basil
        • Parmesan Cheese

Remember oil, salt and pepper don’t count for the purposes of the ingredient tally.

This could not be simpler to prepare and it is so delicious. I do hope you’ll try it.


Pesto Pasta (Deconstructed) - Five Ingredient Friday
If you love pesto pasta, this recipe has all of the elements and flavours of a traditional pesto pasta without the mess of making pesto.
Recipe type: Pasta
  • 8 ounces of pasta, cooked al dente (I used cavatappi, but any pasta would work.)
  • ⅓ cup olive oil (or more, if you prefer)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves, chopped (I used the chiffonade method - which is to stack the leaves, roll them up like a cigar, and slice them thinly along the width of the roll. They will appear as strips, like confetti.)
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Prepare the pasta according to package instructions for al dente.
  2. As the pasta cooks, warm the olive oil over medium-low heat.
  3. Stir in the garlic and saute a few moments, pressing it with a wood spatula to release its flavors. Let it turn the palest blond and then use a slotted spoon to quickly remove it from the oil.
  4. Drain the finished pasta and pour it into a large bowl.
  5. Toss with all of the other ingredients and serve either warm or at room temperature.
If you have made the Garlic Confit recipe, just remove two cloves of the garlic and mince them. Then, pour the necessary olive oil from the confit to use in the recipe. There isn't even a need to heat it.


About P ~ The Saucy Southerner

I started cooking when I was ten years old. For me, the process of cooking, from inception of a dish, to the execution, to the washing of the pots is sheer delight.

I am now retired from a business I still own, in partnership with my husband. I used to work six days a week and still cook every night. Now, I’m gardening, still cooking, always having fun and hoping to share my joy with you. Thank you for reading…and commenting! P~

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2 Responses to Pesto Pasta (Deconstructed) – Five Ingredient Friday

  1. Perfection! 🙂 i love the deconstructed look!

    • P~ says:

      Thank you, Addie! Honestly? I think I like it better this way. The flavours just burst and are more intense than as a pesto paste. P~

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