This easy pesto pasta recipe is ready 20 minutes and uses only 5 ingredients. It's full of bright Italian flavors and is finished with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Easy Pesto Pasta Ingredients
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 12 oz spaghetti
- ½ cup pesto (or vegan pesto)
- 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ½ lemon, juiced
How to Make Easy Pesto Pasta
? Step 1: Cook the pasta
Add the salt to a large pot of water and bring to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package’s instructions.
? Step 2: Reserve the pasta water
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain it and save ½ cup of the water that it was cooked in.
? Step 3: Use the pasta water
Add the pasta to a large bowl. Pour in the pasta water and toss with the pasta (this should help prevent the pasta from sticking).
? Step 4: add the remaining ingredients:
Stir the pesto into the bowl followed by the cherry tomatoes and lemon juice. Add additional salt to taste.
?️ Step 5: Serve
Serve hot or cold. Optionally, garnish with parmesan (or a vegan alternative) and chopped basil or parsley.
Feeling ambitious? Try your hand at making homemade pasta! Get the full guide: How to Make Italian Pasta from Scratch
Tips for This Recipe
Use Your Favorite Noodles
We've used spaghetti noodles for this recipe, but you can swap them out for 12 - 15 ounces of your favorite noodles. Popular alternatives include: penne, bowtie, or Rotini.
Cook Your Noodles Al Dente
For this recipe you'll cook your pasta noodles according to the instructions on their package. Finish cooking the pasta 1 - 2 minutes earlier (sometimes more) when it's just barely cooked so that it's al dente: still firm in the middle. This will allow the pasta to better hold shape when mixed with the other ingredients.
Mix Everything in a Bowl
After you drain your pasta noodles, you'll mix them in a bowl with the remaining ingredients. You don't want to mix everything in the pot that the noodles were cooked in because it will be hot, which can cause your pesto to wilt & brown.