How Much Pesto To Add To Pasta?

One serving of pesto

Short answer
We generally recommend 40g per person if serving as a simple pasta dish. Our accountant recommends more.

Long answer
In Italy you’ll generally find that chefs use just enough pesto to coat the pasta, and they certainly don’t allow the dish to be drowning in it. For a single serving of 75g of dried pasta therefore, we think 40g of pesto is about right.

Naturally everyone’s tastes are different, so you’ll have to adjust the quantities depending who are cooking for. It also greatly depends what other ingredients you are serving it with. If you want to serve your pasta dish with chunks of chicken breast for example, you’ll want to add a little more pesto to ensure the chicken is as well coated as the pasta.

A crucial thing to bear in mind is 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 has been cooked in. This stuff is liquid gold and we hate seeing it thrown away.

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.

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