A quick fresh and salty pasta made in few minutes! This olive and mint pesto pasta is an incredible light and easy recipe to make for the warmer days.
At our home, pasta is a weekly thing. We eat is so often and in so many ways. In winter I tend to prefer more rich and dense sauces, whereas during the warmer days I enjoy more pasta made with light sauces and pesto. This olive and mint pesto is perfect to enjoy during spring and summer. Apart from being incredibly easy to make, as you only need a blender, the taste is so fresh. This is a base pesto for your pasta, so you can enjoy it just as is or else add in some fresh summer veggies or protein.
Ingredients for this Pasta Dish
Olives: Green olives have a unique taste which will bring so much depth to this pesto. To make this easier, I use ready pitted olives. Keep a couple of whole olives to add when the pasta is finished. Use either green or kalamata olives.
Mint: In the Maltese cuisine we like to use fresh mint in our dishes. Adding mint to this pesto adds the perfect freshness and lightness needed to balance the olives.
Olive oil: As always a staple while cooking. The olive oil will make the pesto extra creamy.
Walnuts: Traditionally pine nuts are used for pesto. However as they are a bit on the expensive side and can be tricky to find, I like to swap and use other nuts. For this pesto, I used walnuts as they go so well with olives and don’t have an overpowering taste.
Cherry tomatoes: I like to add some halved cherry tomatoes to this pasta dish. These are optional and can be left out.
Feta cheese: Adding feta cheese in a hot pan with the pasta and pesto, will create a smooth and creamier sauce. Taste it before to check if it needs more salt or pepper. I like to finish off this pasta by adding some crumbled feta on top. You can swap this cheese with the Maltese ġbejna.
Pasta: For this dish, I use cavatappi as I like how the sauce fits with it, I also like this pasta for a cold pasta salad which this dish can also be. I would recommend a short pasta for this dish!
How to make this olive and mint pesto
Making this pesto is relatively easy. I start by placing the pitted olives, walnuts and olive oil in a blender or food processor. Blitz until they are chopped into fine pieces. Then, I add the mint leaves and continue pulsing until a creamy paste is achieved. Add olive oil to your liking and depending on how smooth you want the pesto to be.
The best way to serve this pesto is by mixing it with cooked pasta with some of the pasta water, and crumbled feta. Cook it until the cheese melts and the sauce becomes all smooth and creamy.
Can I serve this pasta cold?
Yes! The beauty of this dish is that it can be enjoyed both warm and cold! The flavours are strong so they will make a rich pasta salad. Add to the pasta chopped fresh vegetables for an extra touch of freshness.
How can I store the olive and mint pesto?
You can store pesto in the fridge, in a sealed container with a thin layer of olive oil on top. This can last you up to 1 week. Pesto can also be stored in the freezer in a bag, container or jar. Another great way to freeze it, especially if you make a large batch, is by freezing it in an ice cube tray. Simply place the pesto in the single ice cube spaces and freeze for about 2 hours or until completely set. Once they are frozen, pop them out and place in a plastic bag. This will give you smaller portions and you don’t have to use all the pesto at once.
Can I use another type of cheese?
Of course, the cheese part in this recipe is totally optional. I add it as I like the creaminess and richness it adds to the dish. If you are not a fan of feta cheese, you can either use the Maltese ġbejna cheese, ricotta, goat cheese or even cottage cheese!
Olive and Mint Pesto Pasta
- 130 g olives pitted
- 60 g mint
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 60 g walnuts
- 40 g cherry tomatoes
- 200 g feta cheese or ġbejna cheese
- 400 g pasta
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot, cook the pasta until al dente in salted water according to the instructions on the package.
- While the pasta is cooking, in a food processor pulse the olives and walnuts with the olive oil until finely chopped. Add the mint and pulse until you get a paste. Crumble most of the feta and set aside.
- Once the pasta is cooked, drain it but set aside about half a cup of the pasta water.
- Heat a large pan. Add the pasta to the pan with the olive and mint pesto, add most of the feta and the pasta water. Mix well together and let cook until everything is combined and creamy. Add the cherry tomatoes and a couple of whole pitted olives and mix well.
- Serve immediately, with some crumbled feta on top.
If you have any questions, feedback or comments on this recipe, please leave a comment below. Please also rate this recipe by double clicking on the stars below. If you did make this recipe, tag @apronandwhisk and hashtag #apronandwhisk, as I’m curious to see what you create!
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Rosella Cassar says
It’s tasty, refreshing and easy to make. I love all the ingredients, so it’s a winner 👍💯
Thank you! 😊 🙏