Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta

This lemon basil pesto pasta is SO good! A quick lemon basil pesto is tossed with hot pasta for a delicious and quick meal.

Lemon basil pesto pasta. Isn’t that fun to say!? It’s almost as fun as going to jury duty during your 9 day vacation. Yeah NOT! Jury duty was today, well today as in yesterday. But something happened at jury duty that I didn’t expect, the “criminals” settled their cases or took a plea bargain or whatever it is they do, and I literally spent one hour and a half in that large, sterile, grey room that I swear was being pumped with hot air that was only adding to my anxiety-sweating problem.

Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta l SimplyScratch.com

And I can say without a single {or beyond reasonable, ha!} doubt that getting up at 6am just isn’t for me. I mean I can do it… but there is just something wrong with getting out of bed when it’s still dark outside. But then again… maybe if I went to bed a decent time I’d have a different opinion of the matter. For me I’m all about weekends, room darkening curtains and the fact my girls can pour their own Cheerios. Because I live for sleeping-in and by sleeping in I mean 9am. Does that mean I’m old?

Speaking of criminal, wanna see a behind the scenes look at my kitchen from the aftermath of this recipe?? You should see the other side… way worse. If you can believe it. That’s where the pots, pans and the morning’s dishes are. I’m saving your eyes from that mess, that and I’m too ashamed.

Pesto is HUGE with my kids. They love this recipe in particular. But today I set off to the store to buy fresh tuna and make you a light and refreshing pesto tuna pasta salad. But guess what? The store had no tuna. Yeah… I was pisssssed. Not even frozen {yeah. I know.} So just imagine how yummy this would be with grilled tuna! Can you EVEN imagine? No really can you imagine and pretend there is some tuna up in hurrr?

Fill up a large pot with water. Glad I snapped a shot of that for ya aren’t you… like you couldn’t imagine how to fill a pot of water. Ha!…and sorry.

This is my sea salt.

I like to add a palmful of it to my boiling water to help season the pasta. Do it once and taste your pasta… it really flavors the normally bland carbohydrate… and you’ll be hooked! Promise.

Drop in a pound of pasta. I’m using mini ziti, but any small pasta should do and follow the package instructions.

Rinse off your basil and parsley… mine had a bit of sandy-dirt on it.

Chop off a bunch.

And roughly chop it up.

I then opened up the can of anchovies, measured and drained two to three tablespoons of capers {I lost count}, zested a lemon and smashed the beejesus out of a clove of garlic.

In a food processor, mine is of the mini kind, add the parsley, basil and garlic.

Add in half of the zest, the capers and two anchovy fillets.

Add in the teaspoon of brown mustard.

And blitz it until it’s blitzed.

With three minutes left on the pasta, drop in the peas.

After the pasta is cooked drain it.

Toss the peas and pasta in a bowl and add in the lemon & basil pesto.

Add in the remaining zest and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.

Give it a stirsy.

Taste the pesto-pasta and season to taste.

Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta l SimplyScratch.com
Ooops! It happens.

Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta l SimplyScratch.com
Serve this lemon basil pesto pasta and immediately start shoveling it in to your face all the while thinking how freaking more amazing it would be if your grocery store carried fresh tuna. If only…. I know, where that empty spot on my fork is… pretend there’s a perfectly flaked piece of tuna. Man I’m so bitter, ugh.


Enjoy! And if you give this Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta recipe a try, let me know by snapping a photo and tagging me on twitter or instagram!

Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta l SimplyScratch.com

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 


Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta


1 pound Small Pasta

1 bunch Fresh Basil {about a cup, but nothing serious}

1 small bunch Parsley, roughly chopped

2-3 tablespoon Capers, drained

2 Anchovy Fillets

1 Lemon {you'll need all the zest (divided) and half the lemon juiced}

1 teaspoon Brown Mustard

1 Garlic Clove, smashed and peeled

1/2 cup Olive Oil

1-1/2 cups Frozen Petite Peas

1/2 scant teaspoon Kosher Salt {more or less to taste, so check your pesto pasta before adding!}

1/4 teaspoon Fresh Cracked Black Pepper {more or less to taste}


Prepare the pasta according to the directions on the package. In the last three minutes of cooking, add the frozen peas, then drain.

But in the meantime prepare your pesto.

Wash the herbs and roughly chop the parsley. Zest the entire lemon and drain the capers. In a mini processor; add in the herbs, garlic, capers, half of the zest, mustard and anchovy fillets. Return the lid, turn it on and slowly add the oil.

Add the drained pasta and peas to a large bowl. Add the pesto, the remaining lemon zest, then squeeze a half of the lemon over top and toss. Check for salt and season according to your taste. And if you have a pound of cooked {mmm grilled} tuna... flake and add it in here!

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19 Responses to “Lemon Basil Pesto Pasta”

  1. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — May 2, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    This sounds so yummy! Love it!

  2. #
    Blog is the New Black — May 2, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    The bright colors are reeling me in!

  3. #
    Julia @The Roasted Root — May 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm

    Herby pastas are my favorite! As it turns out, I love anchovies but have never used them in a recipe; thanks for the inspriration!

  4. #
    Julie @ Table for Two — May 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    I love that your kitchen has a HUGE window in it so you can capture all the natural light while you cook and such. so jealous! this pasta looks so refreshing and light especially with that lemon in there! i'm a huge pesto fan!

  5. #
    Cassie/Bake Your Day — May 2, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    Goodness, my kitchen always looks like that. If anything is constant in life, that is dishes and laundry. 🙂 This is a beautiful dish!

  6. #
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts — May 2, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    MMMMmmmmm….love pesto! I am not a fan of tuna, so I am happy just the way it is!

  7. #
    Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking — May 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    Such a lovely and flavorful looking recipe, Laurie! I love pesto and would really enjoy this pasta dish. Great photos, too!

  8. #
    Heather (Heather's Dish) — May 2, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    i have to try OH SO HARD to keep my kitchen looking even that good!

    i am in love with lemon and basil together lately…so delicious!

  9. #
    Bev Weidner (Bev Cooks) — May 2, 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Will you feed me?

  10. #
    Nina — May 2, 2012 at 5:25 pm

    This looks a-mazing! I am on a big lemon kick right now! They just make me happy in the kitchen!

  11. #
    Katie — May 2, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    this looks fab–your photos are amazing! I'll admit I've always been fearful of cooking with anchovies… maybe I need to get over this fear and make this pesto!

  12. #
    Sabrina Webb — May 3, 2012 at 12:35 am

    Ha! I love how you showed a picture of your kitchen omg what a fun idea! My kitchen is a complete disaster when I cook! This recipe is amazing though! My kind of comfort food!! I also wanted to know that I included your recipe for your fabulous bacon & gorgonzola guacamole on my cinco de mayo post today!

  13. #
    Carol Ann — May 3, 2012 at 9:41 am

    I think I'm alergic to 6am! 9am is much better! Lemon, basil and anchovies sounds great, never thought of putting mustard in pesto, got to try this! As for the mess, that just goes with cooking, doesn't it?

  14. #
    A SPICY PERSPECTIVE — May 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    So fresh and gorgeous!!

  15. #
    kate — May 3, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    LOL – I can completely relate to the kitchen aftermath! Not my favorite part for sure.
    I love that you added peas to this dish – and I bet the capers add a nice zing to the pesto! Yum!

  16. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — May 4, 2012 at 4:06 am

    What a fun twist on pesto! I just love the addition of the anchovy and the capers!

  17. #
    Baking Serendipity — May 4, 2012 at 4:17 am

    Truly, it's relieving to know that others make total disasters of their kitchen while cooking too. I keep trying to explain this to my husband…and he just doesn't get it 🙂 This pasta though? We both would get and definitely enjoy. It looks fantastic!

  18. #
    Pola M — May 4, 2012 at 10:16 pm

    Looks delicious! And it must also be very fresh with the lemon!


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