Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verdes) – a velvety and flavorful pesto sauce tossed with pasta to create a quick and tasty meal. Perfect on its own or served as a side, the sauce is good enough to eat by the spoonfuls and can be used to add flavor to pizza, mayo, or dips.
What differentiates this from the Italian version? This version is made with basil, oil, garlic, salt, pepper, and feta. Feta cheese is used rather than Parmesan or Romano. Pine nuts aren’t used because they were not common in Peru.
This is so simple to make. Prepare your spaghetti. Make sure to cook to “al dente” where the pasta has a slight bite to it. Check out my post on How to Cook Pasta to prepare pasta properly. While the pasta is cooking, make the pesto sauce.
Quickly rinsing the basil leaves in hot water slightly wilts the greens and brings out the aroma of the basil. Drain and shake the leaves before adding to blender.
Pour the olive oil into the blender (affiliate link). Add the garlic cloves. We like it garlicky so we use three or four medium cloves.
Add the basil leaves, salt, pepper, and feta. Blend it until you have a smooth, velvety sauce.
Mix with your pasta and serve.
You can also use a food processor (affiliate link). Just note if using a food processor, the sauce won’t be as smooth as it is with a blender. My mom told me her grandmother used to make it with mortar and pestle! If you are that motivated, go for it.
You can also use this pesto sauce on pizza, pasta salads, add it to mayonnaise, or whatever you like. In Peru, Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verdes) is commonly served with steak.
Be happy, eat well…
Peruvian Pesto (Tallarines Verdes) - a velvety and flavorful pesto sauce tossed with pasta to create a quick and tasty meal that's perfect on its own or served as a side.
Cook time is for pasta. Time may vary according to directions on package.
4-6 Servings as a main dish
6-8 Servings as a side
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 - 3 medium garlic cloves
- 3 cups packed basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt - or to taste
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 4 ounces feta cheese
- 1 pound spaghetti
- Parmesan cheese optional, for serving
Cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions. I cook about a 1 - 2 minutes less what it states then test.
While pasta is cooking, quickly, gently, rinse the basil leaves in warm/hot water and drain.
If using a food processor, pulse the garlic until fine. Add basil, salt, pepper, and feta and pulse until combined. Drizzle in the oil and process until you have a smooth sauce.
If using a blender, add oil, garlic, basil, salt, pepper, and feta. Blend until smooth, stopping as needed to push down ingredients.
Toss sauce with pasta. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Serve alone as a meal or as a side with steak. ¡Al ataque!
You may also use this pesto sauce on pizza, pasta salads, or add it to mayonnaise.