February 5, 2019

Bucatini al Pesto

Recipe: Gluten Free Bucatini al Pesto

Serves 4 | Prep Time 1/2 hour | Resting Time 1/2 hour | Cooking Time 4 to 6 minutes


  • 1 cup loose basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/4 cup nuts (pine or walnuts)
  • salt to taste
  • About 150 grams per person (gluten free bucatini



  1. Add basil, garlic clove and olive oil to the jar of a blender. Turn the blender on low at first and adjust the amount of oil for your desired consistency.
  2. Add parmesan cheese and pulse your blender to blend in.
  3. Add the nuts and blend to achieve your desired level of crunchiness. In the case of bucatini al pesto, you might want to experiment with a very smooth paste.


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a roiling boil and add enough salt so the water will taste like the ocean.
  2. Add the bucatini and boil until al dente, about 8 to 12 minutes (this depends on many factors so it is important that you test the pasta repeatedly until you achieve the desired donness.)
  3. Meanwhile heat the pesto in a large skillet..
  4. Add 3 tbsp of pasta water to the skillet.
  5. Turn off the heat for the skillet and add the pasta.
  6. Cook together for a minute or 2, adjusting the consistency of the sauce with a bit more pasta water, if needed.
  7. Plate and serve


The word pesto derives from the Italian word “pestare” which means to crush.

The sauce we know in this country as pesto is actually a particular variety, coming from Genova, in Liguria, which uses basil, olive oil, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.

If you think of pesto as a paste you can let your imagination run wild, and make a pesto out of anything, generally trying to stay within the general parameters: a green herb (or vegetable), olive oil, a strong, hard cheese and some kind of nut. You could, for example, make a pesto out of mint, or even arugula or spinach, walnuts, pecorino cheese and another rich nut, such as macadamias.

Traditionally it is made in a mortar and pestle, starting with crushing the pine nuts and garlic together with some salt, followed by the basil leaves, the oil and finally the cheese.

Purists would say that a pesto made with a food processor, as described in this recipe, is not the real thing and it does not taste the same. If you have the time, give a try to both methods and decide for yourself.

You can think of pesto as having three kinds of fat together: nuts, cheese and olive oil, and a vegetable, which could be, or not, an herb.

The reason we finish cooking the bucatini with the pesto is that we want the sauce to adhere and be absorbed by every strand of pasta.

Learn to make this and much more during our cooking class:

Gluten Free and Vegetarian Italian

Gluten Free Bucatini
Cannelloni di Verdura
Flourless Almond Chocolate Cake
The Foodery
Chef Daniel Morduchowicz