Maddy Douglass

Knitter, lawyer, and safer beauty advocate in San Francisco. 

Loves coffee, crafting, and cheese plates.  


Fork it Over: Almost Pesto Pasta

Alright everyone, this is going to be easy today. But sometimes you need easy. Sometimes easy is what allows you to keep pushing forward, to challenge yourself, to accomplish other things you thought were too hard. Sometimes easy is the best thing in the world. Sometimes you just want to make pasta and call it a night, amirite?


I am pretty lucky with my job. I like the work, I like the people, and I like the perks that come along with it for the time being (free breakfast and lunch, a bus to take me to work that has WiFi so I can blog, etc.) However, it's still a job. I still do things that require using my brain for 8 hours a day, and then have to commute back like everyone else. It may be an easier commute, but it still takes about an hour and a half each way. If I get home and then have to grocery shop and make something to put in my belly, well, that's just the proverbial sarcastic cherry on top. I love cooking and trying new recipes but sometimes (most of the time) I just want to heat something up and watch whatever bad reality show is on that night. Or The Walking Dead on Netflix. Or read Harry Potter. What am I talking about? Anyway.

I call this my "Almost Pesto Pasta" because it has all the ingredients of pesto without that pesky "cleaning the food processor" step that comes from blending them all together. If you're like me, and you're obsessed with the pasta part, you'll love this. Also, it takes about five seconds. That's a guesstimate, don't hold me to that.


- pasta - basil - pine nuts - garlic - parmesan - olive oil, salt, pepper

Click through for the whole "recipe" (chortle):

Step 1: Buy fancy pasta.

Sometimes you have to treat yoself and that includes buying nicer ingredients than you otherwise would for a "basic" dish. I like picking out the "authentically Italian" pastas sometimes, just for kicks. Plus, these ones are different shapes and colors! Wheeeee!

Step 1a: Cook according to directions.

(You can do this!)

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Step 2: Chop your basil

While your pasta is cooking, it's time to chop up your basil. I like to do this in little strips by rolling up the leaves as I'd learned from, who else, my mother. And maybe The Food Network.


You can separate your leaves into sizes like I've done here so that they will roll together more easily...


Then, roll from the stem/base up to the tip, hold it horizontally with one hand, and slice like a normal "vegetable" so that the little slices are actually strips of delicious, fragrant basil. Yum yum yum.

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More pictures of the funny pasta! I love how even the shape of food can be exciting sometimes. Or maybe that's just the little kid in me who still buys the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese in cartoon shapes...

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Step 3: Mix your pine nuts and garlic.

I used about 1/4 cup of pine nuts and a couple of tablespoons of minced garlic because I was feeling extra lazy today. Obviously real garlic is much better but I'll leave that to you to decide. Real everything is better, who are we kidding?

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Step 5: Cook up the garlic and pine nuts in some olive oil. 

Again, this is up to your preference - you can toast the pine nuts, which would give them a bit richer of a flavor, but I believe these photos were taken during the era without a toaster in our apartment. Whoops! So, at any rate, fry (cook?) the garlic a bit until it becomes fragrant but be careful not to burn it.


You should have been cooking your pasta this whole time so, you know, keep doing that, and then drain it.


Step 6: Mix!

Pasta back in pot, pine nuts and garlic mixture on top, then your sliced basil, and some extra olive oil so that it all sticks together, salt and pepper to taste. You can also squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top! How fancy.


Mix it all together well and serve with a sprinkle of parmesan. As my friends know, my "sprinkle" is a bit bigger than most, so, do what you want. There's no judgment here at MB! Most of the time!

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Easy peasy lemon squeezy! You're welcome.


Do you have a favorite work-week dish you make? I'd love to hear new recipes!

"Sorry I'm not sorry."

Clarion Street, San Francisco