Basil Pesto Pasta for One (Nut-Free)

We have been having unseasonably hot and humid weather in our part of the world. Considering the heat, I haven’t wanted to cook or bake heavy dishes. This easy-to-make pesto pasta has been a meal that I’ve been eating frequently. It is relatively light, can be ready in a few minutes, and the pasta is the only thing you need to cook!

I have a few basil plants in my kitchen (thanks to my mom!), and they are full of leaves. The abundance of basil, along with the heat, inspired this dish. This recipe is specifically adapted to serve one person. I am more of a pasta fan than my husband, so I make this for myself when we are eating separate meals. However, you can easily multiply the quantities to serve multiple people.

I chose to make it nut-free because my mother doesn’t care for nuts, and there are some nut-based allergies in our family. I don’t miss the pine nuts, but the pesto itself is a bit thinner than traditional pesto. I have also added lemon juice to this recipe. You may choose to omit the lemon juice if you would like the pesto a bit thicker.

A few notes on the recipe:

Fresh Garlic: The garlic in this recipe is raw (not cooked), and raw garlic can have a bit of a bite to it. If you do not like the taste of raw garlic, you can roast it in the oven, prior to making the pasta dish (click here for a roasting guide). You can also substitute the minced garlic with a 1/8 teaspoon of dried garlic powder.

Parmesan Cheese: Shredded Parmesan cheese is blended into the pesto mixture. You can use Pecorino Romano instead of Parmesan cheese, but it is saltier. Keep this in mind when you are adding salt to the pesto mixture.

Fresh Mozzarella: I add fresh mozzarella to the pasta dish. You an either add an ounce of the mozzarella “pearls” or cube fresh mozzarella. If you do not have fresh mozzarella, you can add a couple tablespoons of shredded mozzarella cheese.

Tomatoes: This recipe benefits from the addition of cherry or grape tomatoes. If you would like to add tomatoes to the recipe, simply halve the tomatoes prior to making the dish. If you do not have cherry tomatoes, you can add half of a diced Roma tomato. If you choose to add a Roma tomato, remove the seeds before dicing it.

Cost Analysis:

Please note – the cost is based on what I paid for ingredients in the year 2020. Your actual costs may differ.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

  • Difficulty: easy
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An easy homemade pesto pasta recipe that is nut-free and results in one serving.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 4 ounces pasta (I used fettuccine, but any shape will do)
  • pinch of salt, to taste
  • 1 ounce of fresh mozzarella cheese
  • suggested add-in: 1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes (cut in half)

Directions

  1. Boil salted water in a saucepan and prepare pasta noodles per box instructions.
  2. Combine basil, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and a pinch or two of salt in a small blender or food processor. Blend until well combined.
  3. Drain pasta and remove it from heat. Add pesto to the pasta noodles and mix until combined. Add fresh mozzarella and uncooked tomatoes (if using) to the pasta.
  4. Top dish with additional Parmesan cheese and basil.
  5. Enjoy!

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Easy Fettuccine Alfredo for One

Everyone needs a few good single-serving recipes. Whether you need dinner-for-one, or a quick homemade lunch, this recipe is a good addition to that list.

Fettuccine Alfredo has been one of my favorite indulgent meals since I was a child. Unfortunately, my husband James is not a fan of Alfredo sauce. So, I make this single-serving recipe for myself when I am craving a creamy pasta lunch.

This recipe is creamy and flavorful with the addition of garlic and parsley. You may, however, also consider adding steamed or sauted vegetables. Alfredo pairs especially well with broccoli, peppers, and tomatoes. Simply saute the vegetables in a separate frying pan with olive oil until softened, or steam the vegetables while you prepare the Alfredo sauce. Then, stir the vegetables into the completed sauce prior to adding the pasta.

Notes on the Recipe:

Garlic: This recipe calls for one clove of minced garlic. You can also use about 1/2 teaspoon of already minced garlic or 1/8 teaspoon of dried garlic powder. If you are a garlic-lover, add two cloves of garlic. I frequently do this, but the garlic flavor is very strong.

Half-and-half creamer: I use half-and-half for this recipe because it is something I usually have on hand for my coffee. It has more fat than milk, and this makes the Alfredo creamy. You can also use whipping cream, which will result in an even creamier sauce. If you don’t have either on hand, you can use milk. If you use milk, the sauce will remain relatively thin.

Cost Analysis:

Fettuccine Alfredo is known as a rich and indulgent meal, so the cost and time requirement to make this dish may surprise you. This single serving recipe takes just 15 minutes to make and costs about $0.76 for the serving.

Picture Tutorial:

Recipe:

Easy Fettuccine Alfredo for One

  • Difficulty: easy
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This easy homemade Fettuccine Alfredo recipe is made with common household ingredients, costs less than a dollar to make, and results in one delicious serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon salted butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons half-and-half creamer
  • 4 ounces pasta (I used fettuccine, but any shape will do)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions

  1. Melt butter on low heat in a small saucepan. Separately, boil water in a saucepan and prepare pasta noodles per box instructions.
  2. Add minced garlic to the melted butter. Increase the heat to medium-low and allow the garlic to cook for about one minute. Stir carefully and do not allow the garlic to burn.
  3. Add half-and-half creamer to the butter mixture one tablespoon at a time. Wisk or stir after each addition. Allow the butter and creamer mixture to cook for 2-3 minutes, until it has thickened slightly.
  4. Add shredded Parmesan cheese and wisk or stir until well combined. This should take about a minute.
  5. Add dried parsley to the sauce and stir.
  6. After the pasta is cooked and drained, add it to the sauce mixture. Stir until well combined.
  7. Top the pasta dish with additional Parmesan cheese, parsley, and pepper, to taste.
  8. Enjoy!

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Fast, Easy, & Delicious Pasta

My college cafeteria served made-to-order pasta. It was great. Perhaps it was a little too great, as I gained 10 pounds during my first year of college…

In the cafeteria, a cook would allow you to select your garlic, oil, sauce, vegetables, meat, and pasta noodle shape. As a frequenter of the pasta station, I sampled a variety of made-to-order dishes. Now, easy pasta dishes are my go-to lazy meal. You can use up the produce you have in your home, and make the pasta dish to your taste.

For me, a great lazy pasta dish only requires:

  • Olive oil
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Some form of tomato (grape, diced, or even canned)
  • Pasta

Other add-ins I like include:

  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Fresh herbs
  • Other vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, asparagus, peppers, etc.

The olive oil and tomatoes form a light sauce. The addition of garlic, cheese and fresh herbs makes it a great light dish for summer. If you want something heavier, consider adding butter, additional cheese, and meat.

The pasta we had last night incorporated fresh tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, fresh basil, and two types of cheese. The cost was $1.71 per person (see below for cost analysis).

Cost Analysis:

Note: The costs are based on what I paid for ingredients in 2020. Your total cost may differ.

Recipe:

Quick & Easy Pasta Dish

  • Difficulty: easy
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An easy and versatile pasta dish.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped or minced
  • 1 1/4 cups grape tomatoes (cut in half)
  • 4 ounces pasta (I used fettuccine, but any shape will do)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice (or balsamic vinegar)
  • Additional add-ins: mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, fresh basil or other herbs, other vegetables!

Directions

  1. Heat olive oil on medium heat. Separately, boil water in a saucepan and prepare pasta noodles per box instructions.
  2. Add finely chopped onion and a pinch of salt to the olive oil and allow the onion to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and 1 cup of grape tomatoes, and any additional vegetables. Allow mixture to cook for a few minutes in the oil. Add lemon juice.
  3. Allow this mixture to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, until onion and tomato are softened.
  4. Mix pasta noodles into the tomato sauce.
  5. Top with 1/4 cup of uncooked tomatoes (if desired). I like this for the texture, but you could choose to cook all of the tomatoes.
  6. Top with cheese, fresh herbs, salt and pepper, if desired.
  7. Enjoy!

What are your go-to lazy meals?

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