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Kids in the kitchen: Easy Peasy Pesto Pasta

I have this idea that I want my kids to know how to cook ten dishes from scratch before they leave home.  I think it’s important that they can nourish and feed themselves so I’m starting to teach them now.  

I’m also hoping it won’t be long before I can start taking a night off!

Lucia is a pretty keen cook.  She gravitates towards the kitchen when I’m cooking and I know this means she wants to be with me.  Sometimes we talk and laugh and joke and other times we just work silently side by side.  It’s a lovely way to spend time together and for me especially to have an opportunity to pass on some things I know, while she still likes me enough to listen!

Lucia’s Pesto Pasta + why you need to make friends with pesto

 Pesto is a great staple and a wonderful thing to teach kids how to make because it can be used in so many different ways.  Here’s how we make our pesto…we have used basil but parsley, rocket and spinach make great pestos too.



2 big bunches of basil – leaves picked

1 small handful of pine nuts (or cashews, almonds or macadamia nuts)

1/2 garlic clove, chopped

sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Extra virgin olive oil – about half a cup (or more if you like your pesto a bit runnier like me)

a handful of grated parmigiano reggiano or peccorino cheese (optional)

Add the basil leaves, pine nuts and garlic to a small food processor and give it a good whizz.  Scrape down the sides and then whizz again, adding the olive oil in through the shoot as the blades are spinning (parental supervision required!!).

Once you have reached the desired consistency, scrape the pesto into a bowl and add the parmesan, stirring to combine.

Cook your pasta of choice (GF or spelt is fine) and drain into a colander, reserving about half a cup of the pasta water (to use to loosen the sauce if it’s a little dry).

Stir through the pesto, top with plenty of parmesan and serve hot.


What else can you do with pesto?  Well, I’m so glad you asked…

  • Spread it on toast and top with sliced summer tomatoes
  • Use it as a sauce to serve with hot, roast chicken – divine
  • Dollop on your salad to add extra flavour and boost nutrient density
  • Add a spoonful to your soup, it’s especially good in minestrone, to season and add depth
  • Drizzle over pizza – the best thing I have EVER eaten in my entire life happens to be a tomato, mozzarella focaccia with basil pesto dolloped on top in the Cinque Terre!
  • Dip into it with crackers and chopped veggie sticks

Have you tried making pesto with your children? What is your favourite pesto combination?

Buon appetito,

mamacino x




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4 thoughts on “Kids in the kitchen: Easy Peasy Pesto Pasta

  1. Yum! Love pesto, however recently have cut out wheat from my diet I now enjoy with rice as a salad with some toasted pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes….

    1. Perfect x

  2. Beautiful daughters you have! We love rocket, cashews, parmagiano reggiano (once you have been to Reggio Emilia- you’ll never taste a better parmasan cheese! And you can buy it in Torquay!) garlic and a drizzle of olive oil… In summer I like a splash of lemon also!

    1. Lets get together for a pesto party soon!

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