Gluten-Free Pesto Pasta with Toasted Pine Nuts Recipe

Gluten Free Pesto Pasta with Toasted Pine Nuts. 2009 © Teri Lee Gruss
  • 25 mins
  • Prep: 5 mins,
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 4-6 Servings

This delicious gluten-free pasta dish is full of fresh basil pesto flavor and nutty, high energy toasted pine nuts. Gluten-free pasta products have come a long way; no longer do gluten free cooks have to deal with mushy, flavorless products. Serve this delicious gluten free pasta as a side dish to chicken or fish entrees, or pack it for a convenient, on-the-go gluten-free lunch.

What You'll Need

  • 1 package of your favorite gluten free spaghetti
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, stems removed
  • 3 cloves fresh, peeled garlic, sliced in half
  • 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts (pignolia or piñon nuts) (1/4 cup for pesto sauce and 1/2 cup to top pasta)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (1/2 cup for pesto sauce and 1/4 cup to top pasta)
  • 1 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese (1/2 cup for pesto sauce and 1/2 cup to top pasta)

How to Make It

  1. Cook the gluten-free spaghetti according to package instructions. After rinsing and draining, return the cooked pasta to a large pan.
  2. Toast the pine nuts: Place pine nuts in a medium size, heavy skillet and lightly brown over medium low heat. Stir occasionally and watch carefully- pine nuts go from golden brown to burned quickly!
  3. Prepare the basil pesto sauce: Place basil leaves, sliced garlic cloves, 1/4 cup of the toasted pine nuts, 1/2 cup of the coarsely grated Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a food processor. Slowly drizzle 1/2 cup of olive oil through the processor feed tube while pulsing the processor. Pesto is done when the mixture is just pureed- don't over process.
  1. Assemble pasta dish: Pour the pesto sauce over the cooked pasta in a large pan on the stovetop. Drizzle remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil over the pasta/pesto mixture and add remaining 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts.
  2. Use tongs to gently coat distribute olive oil and pine nuts.
  3. Top with remaining 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese.
  4. Over medium-low heat, warm the pasta for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

Tips: For convenience, pesto sauce and toasted pine nuts can be prepared ahead and frozen. Thaw for about 30 minutes before preparing the recipe. Pesto sauce can be prepared traditionally, in a mortar and pestle or, in a blender.

Reminder: Always make sure your work surfaces, utensils, pans, and tools are free of gluten. Always read product labels. Manufacturers can change product formulations without notice. When in doubt, do not buy or use a product before contacting the manufacturer for verification that the product is free of gluten.