Leftover Pasta with Pesto Sauce

Transforming Yesterday’s Dinner into Today’s Delight: Leftover Pasta with Pesto Sauce

Leftover Pasta with Pesto Sauce is a delightful dish that not only reduces food waste but also elevates your dining experience. View the recipe below!

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Leftover Pasta with Pesto Sauce

Leftover Pasta with Pesto Sauce

Leftover pasta with pesto sauce is a simple yet delightful dish that can be prepared in no time. This recipe combines the rich, herbal notes of pesto with the satisfying comfort of pasta, making it a favorite among pasta lovers. It's perfect for a quick lunch or dinner and serves 2-3 hungry individuals. You'll be amazed at how such humble ingredients can create a dish bursting with flavors.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 servings


  • 2 cups leftover cooked pasta (preferably a wide pasta type such as fettuccine or tagliatelle)
  • ½ cup fresh basil pesto sauce
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (for a subtle kick)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp lemon zest (for a zesty twist)
  • A handful of toasted pine nuts (for added crunch)
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish


  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. Once it shimmers, add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté for about 30 seconds until the garlic becomes fragrant.
  • Add the leftover pasta to the skillet and toss it in the garlic-infused oil for 3-4 minutes, allowing it to heat through and regain its delightful texture.
  • Stir in the fresh basil pesto sauce, ensuring that every strand of pasta is coated in the vibrant green goodness.
  • Sprinkle in the grated Parmesan cheese and continue to toss until the cheese melts into the sauce, creating a creamy consistency.
  • Season with salt, black pepper, and lemon zest, adjusting the flavors to your preference.
  • To serve, plate the pesto pasta and garnish with toasted pine nuts for a delightful crunch and fresh basil leaves for a burst of color and aroma.


Cooking Tips for the Best Results:

  1. Use high-quality pesto sauce for the best flavor. You can make your own or opt for a trusted store-bought version.
  2. Don’t overcook the pasta during the initial preparation to ensure it retains its texture when reheated.
  3. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium heat until they turn golden brown. This brings out their nutty flavor and adds a lovely crunch to the dish.
  4. Customize the dish with your favorite herbs or vegetables. Spinach, cherry tomatoes, or sun-dried tomatoes are excellent additions.
  5. Experiment with different types of pasta, from classic spaghetti to penne or even tortellini, to give this dish your unique touch.

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FAQs about the Leftover Pasta with Pesto Sauce Recipe

Can I use frozen leftover pasta?

Yes, you can! Simply thaw it before following the recipe.

Is it okay to use store-bought pesto sauce?

Absolutely. High-quality store-bought pesto works wonderfully in this recipe.

Can I make this dish vegetarian?

Certainly. Just skip the Parmesan cheese or use a vegetarian-friendly alternative.

Can I make this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare it in advance and reheat it when ready to serve.

What can I serve with leftover pasta and pesto sauce?

It pairs well with a simple green salad or garlic bread for a complete meal.

Read more here for additional info about leftover pasta. Also, I recommend other interesting articles related to this topic, including articles on Leftover Pasta Primavera, Leftover Pasta Frittata, Leftover Spaghetti Salad, Leftover Spaghetti Casserole, Bacon and Leftover Pasta Casserole, Cheesy Leftover Pasta Bake, Leftover Pasta Stir-Fry, Leftover Pasta and Bean Soup, Leftover Creamy Alfredo Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and more.

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