Make Ahead

No Cook Herb Pasta sauce

June 29, 2011
2 Ratings
  • Makes About 1 cup
Author Notes

It’s getting hot and that means lighter food, and using the stove as little as possible. This easy no cook herb pasta sauce is just what the weatherman ordered. Essentially a nut-free pesto, it can be made with whatever beautiful summertime herbs or greens you have on hand. I used cilantro, parsley and scallions, but basil, sorrel, spinach, mint, dandelion greens, or even a pinch of dill would all be lovely. This is good warm, but is just as good as a cold pasta salad of sorts. Bring it to a bbq. Or eat the leftovers cold right out of the fridge.

The key to making this a great sauce, one that fully coats the pasta in a slick, even layer, is pasta water. Without it, pesto can be a little grainy. Globby. Just a little pasta water – I blended a tad in while making the sauce, and also poured some more in when tossing it with the pasta – invokes some sort of alchemy in which it turns into a smooth sauce. I recommend incorporating a dash of pasta water into all of your sauces. It’s an old trick, and one that works well. —kmartinelli

What You'll Need
  • ½ bunch cilantro
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • 1 small bunch scallions
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • ¼-½ cups olive oil
  • Juice of ½ lemon
  • ¼ cups grated Parmesan
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Combine the cilantro, parsley, scallions, garlic, and ¼ cup olive oil in a food processor. Blend until a paste forms.
  2. Add the lemon juice and Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Taste and add more garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, Parmesan, salt, and/or pepper as needed. Add a dash of the pasta water and blend until smooth. To serve, toss with pasta (this is enough for up to 1 pound pasta). Enjoy at any temperature.
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • wssmom
  • hardlikearmour
  • Sagegreen
  • nogaga
  • kmartinelli
A native New Yorker, I recently moved to Be'er Sheva, Israel with my husband while he completes medical school. I am a freelance food and travel writer and photographer who is always hungry and reads cookbooks in bed.

8 Reviews

wssmom July 2, 2011
I have everything for this in my garden (except the lemon and olive oil and parm, natch) and look forward to making this tomorrow!
kmartinelli July 5, 2011
Hope it turns out well! So lucky you have all this in your garden, yum!
hardlikearmour June 30, 2011
Yum! This is just perfect summer eating.
kmartinelli June 30, 2011
Thanks hardlikearmour :-) Couldn't agree more!
Sagegreen June 29, 2011
kmartinelli June 30, 2011
nogaga June 29, 2011
This looks so good! And light, and flavorful... I think it might be lunch :)
kmartinelli June 30, 2011
Haha, thanks :-) I hope it turns out well!