Elevate The Flavor Of Your Pasta Sauce With A Touch Of Pesto

The simple combination of pasta and sauce can make for a quick and comforting meal, especially when you are busy or on a budget. With so many sauce varieties out there, from classic marinara to creamy Alfredo, it's hard to run out of options. If you're craving something new, however, you can enhance the flavor of your traditional pasta sauce by mixing in a little bit of pesto.

Pesto contains a combination of elevated flavors that will boost an existing sauce. It is both salty and creamy while being earthy and sharp. The real hero, though, is the presence of basil. If your sauce tastes heavy or bland, as can especially happen with store-bought sauces, this herb will remedy the issue with its fresh, slightly floral flavor. Because of its brighter flavor profile, you can adjust the amount to your liking. You may want to start out with a tablespoon and then go from there as this amount will amp up any sauce without overwhelming the existing ingredients.

Boost it up with basic pesto or mix in other flavors

While there is nothing wrong with using jarred pesto in this application, fresh pesto is easy to make and outshines the store-bought stuff by a mile. To do so, you'll want basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, parmesan cheese, and salt. The amount required will depend on the pesto recipe that you are following, but all you need to do to bring them together is combine them with a mortar and pestle (or with a food processor, if you prefer ultra smooth pesto).

A bonus benefit to making the pesto yourself is the ability to riff on a classic recipe to suit your preferences and the other flavors in your dish. You can add many complementary ingredients like lemon juice and capers to brighten the sauce, or spice it up with red pepper flakes. For the ultimate twist, swap out the basil for your favorite leafy green to get mouthwatering results like cilantro pesto.