February 11, 2021

Pasta au Basilic

Penne Pasta with Fresh Basil and Shaved Parmesean
Pasta au Basilic 8

Pasta au Basilic

A pasta bowl with penne pasta fresh basil and shaved parmesean

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Simple pasta with basil is a typical dish in the summertime in France. This simple pasta with basil is perfect when you're looking for a quick and easy dinner idea. I'll share two methods of preparation that will be sure to please and impress everyone. You can plant basil in your yard or keep a potted plant in the kitchen, so the basil is always available when needed. You can serve this with a salad, then grilled meats and fruit for dessert to complete the meal. This basil pasta is also a fantastic substitute for carryout pizza when you have a group of kids to feed. I hope these ideas help spark creativity while saving money too.

  • Author: Caterina De Falco
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes



450-500 grams of bow tie or penne pasta ( see notes below)

About 2 -3 cups of fresh basil 

About a 1/2 cup to one cup of fresh parmesan 

Extra virgin olive oil 

Sea salt 


1. Cook the pasta al dente, about 1 1/2 - 2 minutes less cooking time than the package directions. 

2. Chop fresh basil or use a mini Cuisinart to chop it. When I make this dish, I never measure the basil or cheese. The quantities I share are guidelines; you can add more or less basil or cheese to your liking. The basil is the star of the show, and in my opinion, you can't have too much basil.  

3. Toss the pasta with basil, olive oil, freshly grated Parmesan, and sea salt. 


Use a vegetable peeler to add shavings of Parmesan for a lovely presentation.  

This dish is also good, without olive oil. The key is to add enough basil.

You can skip the cheese or add cherry tomatoes for a fresh and light cold pasta salad. Serving it cold or room temp is perfect for picnics or parties. Summer Pasta Recipe


In Italy, pasta is served either as a main dish or as a dish prior to the main dish of meat or fish.  This is called the "Primi Piatti," the first dish. 

The rule of thumb for serving sizes is 100 grams of dried pasta for the main dish and 25- 50 grams of dried pasta for prime piatti- a small serving of pasta before the main dish. You can find the grams weight on the pasta package.

When I make this dish, I never measure the basil or cheese.  The qualities are guidelines, you can add more or less basil or cheese to your liking.  

Menu Ideas

Caesar Salad, Pasta au Basilic, and French Fruit Salad


A bowl of pasta with basil being served to the kids

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I often cook "au pif," as we say in France, which means cooking without an exact recipe and by "feel" using your intuition.  You’ll often find guidelines in many recipes versus exact quantities.  Write to me here if you have any questions about the recipes.

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