Pasta Pesto

Usually if you feel like pasta in a hurry, you may reach for red sauce in a jar—or maybe even mac and cheese in the box. I get it, trust me, especially as a stoner.

But if you love cannabis-infused food, there is no better way to eat pasta than with your own infused pesto sauce. It has lots of herbaceous flavor naturally, plus garlic—a great way to disguise any cannabis taste if you hate it, or bring it forward if it’s your thing. And although pesto is light, it’s oil-based, so you can get a nice level of THC in there.

Bonus: serve with infused garlic bread for a seriously baked experience.

Plus, let’s face it. You get sick of that jar sauce, but who has time for stirring sauce all day? Pesto is the fresh and fast yet totally flavorful answer.

(Besides, if you really want mac and cheese, wait for our infused recipe. You’ll never go back to the box.)

This infused pesto sauce is easy to make—it really just takes a few minutes. And the ingredients are super forgiving. No pine nuts? No problem, use walnuts. No fresh basil—or not enough? Use dried basil and any kind of fresh green you like from baby spinach to lacinto kale.

Don’t like dairy? You can use vegan parmesan in place of the cheese and it’s seriously just as good. Or, some people substitute in raw cashews, nutritional yeast, and even artichoke hearts depending on taste.

Plus, you can really up your nutrient quotient with this meal. Use chickpea or other legume-based pasta in place of the traditional kind for more protein and fiber and fewer carbs. Sub in some plant-based cheese, toasted walnuts, and kale and it’s tough to argue with that powerhouse meal.

Here’s what you need to remember about this pesto sauce: it’s basically part oil, part green, part nut, and part cheese, plus garlic, salt, and pepper. Switch around the kind of greens, nuts, and cheese you use if you want, plus infused oil.

Here’s how it works.

For this recipe use your infused extra virgin olive oil (EVOO).

The key for this classic pesto recipe is to add the basil at the very end instead of blending everything all at once. That way the basil doesn’t get bruised or lose its flavor and maintains its vibrant green color. This is part of BA’s Best, a collection of our essential recipes.

Makes about 1.5 cups

Ingredients

  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 3 ounces or about ¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 6 cups fresh basil leaves or other fresh greens plus basil (as described above)
  • ¾ cup cannabis-infused extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • dash pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Butter (infused or not, your choice)

Instructions

Toast the nuts. Preheat oven to 350°. Place pine nuts (or walnuts, or whichever kind you use) on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast them at 350° for 5–7 minutes, until golden brown, tossing once halfway through. Remove from sheet and allow to cool slightly in the well of your food processor.

Make the sauce. Add garlic and cheese to the food processor with the nuts and pulse about 1 minute until finely ground. Add basil or other greens and replace the top. Add infused EVOO in a steady, slow stream with the motor running until pesto is mostly smooth, around 1 minute. Season to taste (carefully!) with salt and pepper. Cover and set aside.

Make the pasta. Boil enough salted water to cook 12 ounces of dried pasta. Add a few drops of (plain, not infused) oil to the water. Cook until the paste is al dente—the time will vary depending on the shape. Drain, reserving ½ cup cooking water from the pasta.

Assemble. In a large bowl, place pesto sauce, butter, and pasta. Carefully toss pasta in sauce and butter with tongs, slowly adding cooking water as needed, until your pasta is coated with sauce and glossy. Divide among plates or bowls and top with more cheese or red pepper if you like.

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