Pesto Pasta with Pine Nut Breadcrumbs

bucatini pasta tossed in a vibrant pesto sauce with crispy pine nut breadcrumbs over top

servings: 4-6



Pine Nut Breadcrumbs

  • 2 oz fresh ciabatta bread, roughly torn into pieces
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt

Pesto Pasta

  • 4 packed cups fresh basil (approx. 2 oz)
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tbsp lemon zest
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¾ lb bucatini
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • extra basil and grated parmesan, for topping


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. For the breadcrumbs, pulse the bread in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the ¼ cup of pine nuts. Continue to pulse until crumbs are formed. Heat a 12” skillet over medium-low heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of pine nuts and toast until lightly browned, 6-8 minutes, stirring often. Transfer the nuts out of the skillet and set aside.
  3. Add enough olive oil to the skillet to generously coat the bottom. Once hot, add the breadcrumb mixture to the oil. Toast for about 6 minutes, stirring often, until golden and crisp. Transfer the crumbs to a plate lined with a paper towel (reserve the skillet). Season with a pinch of salt.
  4. For the pesto pasta, add the basil, garlic, parmesan, lemon zest, lemon juice, and honey to a food processor. Pulse to combine. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until smooth. Season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  5. Drop the bucatini in the boiling water. Stir well and cook for 2 minutes less than the package’s instructions.
  6. Wipe out the skillet and return it to medium heat. Add the butter and let it melt. Pour in the cream and a ¼ cup of starchy pasta water. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 2 minutes to thicken.
  7. Drain the pasta and add it straight to the sauce, along with the pesto. Stir for a couple of minutes until the sauce clings to the pasta. Season with salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste.
  8. Plate the pasta with the breadcrumbs, lots of parmesan cheese, and fresh basil over top.