How Much Pesto To Add To Pasta?
We recommend 50 grams of pesto per person if serving as a simple pasta dish. Our accountant recommends more.
In Italy, you'll find that chefs use just enough pesto to coat the pasta, and they certainly don’t allow the dish to be drowning in it. As a very rough guide, your pesto should weigh about 2/3 the weight of the dried pasta you are cooking. So, for a standard, single serving of 75g dried pasta, we think that 50g of pesto is about right.
Naturally everyone’s tastes are different, so you’ll have to adjust the quantities up or down depending on who are cooking for. It also greatly depends on what other ingredients you are serving your pasta with. If you're making a dish with chunks of chicken breast for example, you’ll want to add a little more pesto to ensure the meat is as well coated as the pasta.
Bear in mind that you will (or we at least hope you will) be adding some extra liquid to your sauce in the form of some of the starchy water that the pasta cooked in.
This water is not only incredibly flavourful, but it acts as an emulsifier and thickener that enables you to create a silky, luxuriously smooth, restaurant-quality sauce. It also helps your jar of pesto go that little bit further.
Approximate pesto-to-pasta ratio in grams
Note: 190g is the standard size jar for pesto in the UK, and that's perfect for feeding four adults. Likewise, for a standard 500g bag of dried pasta, we recommend using about 335g of pesto.
Approximate pesto-to-pasta ratio in pounds and ounces
|16 oz (1lb)
A note on using spoon or cup sizes to measure pesto and pasta
We have purposely omitted a chart showing recommended cup sizes for two key reasons. Firstly, shapes that don't fit into a regular cup (e.g. spaghetti) simply can't be measured in the usual way. Secondly, tiny, compact pasta shapes like orzo can weigh up to twice as much as cylindrical shapes like penne where much of the physical space is taken up by pockets of air.