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Pasta in a Pesto Basil Cream Sauce Recipe

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There seems to be as many different varieties of pasta and pasta recipes as there are grains of sand. Pasta is, after all, a very simple and ubiquitous food. But this recipe changes the common pasta with pesto dish into a version of pesto made with garlic and cream. Enriched with the addition of Parmesan cheese and the subtle flavor of lemon, the pesto's flavor marries freshness, deliciousness, and satisfying richness. Prosciutto ham, with its strong and vibrant flavor, further ameliorates the dish; salty olives on top form a refreshing addition; mushrooms provide a solidity and earthiness. Smooth, satisfying, rich, and green, it isn't even that difficult of a dish to make and is especially good when served with accompaniments like garlic bread.

I have drawn inspiration for this recipe from Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells. But it is principally my own, and the recipe I have makes a very wide variety of modifications.

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  • 2 9 oz containers fettuccine
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 cups basil
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 5 oz Parmesan cheese
  • 1 6 oz can olives
  • 1/3 lb Prosciutto
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms
  • salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • olive oil or butter
  • 1 lemon


  1. Make the pesto sauce by combing the garlic, basil, and cilantro in a food processor or other blender to arrive at a finely blended substance. If necessary, add in some of the cream to enable it to blend effectively. Be careful not to overblend, nor to play around too much with the proportions, as this can result in the mixture attaining an odd curdled appearance. If it does however, happen, then the best result—other than starting over—is to separate the two mixtures through a sieve, although this can play havoc with the liquid composition.Then pour it into a large bowl, and mix in the rest of the cream. Squeeze in the juice of 1 lemon, keeping out the seeds, and if desired apply salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Bring a large pot to a boil, with some olive oil to prevent the pasta from sticking, then add in the pasta and cook for the designated cooking time to desire results. Drain.
  3. Sauté the prosciutto ham briefly, as well as the mushrooms, in separate cooking appliances. Use butter or olive oil for them.
  4. Add in the Parmesan cheese into the pesto sauce, then integrate in the pasta. Following this, add the prosciutto. The mushrooms can either be added now, or placed on top later, depending upon preferences (in my case I kept it separate to the serving stage, as members of my family do not like mushrooms). With everything coated in the pesto sauce, add the olives on top.
  5. Serve immediately while still warm.

© 2018 Ryan Thomas

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