Despite its Italian origins, pesto’s prevalence in local café menus makes it an honorary Filipino pasta. And with its fresh flavor and bright green color, pesto can also be an elegant guest at your holiday dinner party.
Traditional pesto sauce is made out of pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, basil leaves, and cheeses like Parmigiano and Pecorino. All easy to source if you’re in Italy, but can cost you a pretty peso in the Philippines.
Good thing pesto sauce can adapt to what you have. You won’t miss the pine nuts (and their price!) when you sub it for cheaper and more locally available cashews, which has a similar buttery profile. Garlic, olive oil, and basil leaves are easy.
For the cheese, we took a little more liberty: a three-cheese combination of Arla’s Gouda, Cheddar, and Mozzarella melted into butter and cream creates a melty, cheesy sauce base. It launches your classic pesto to cheesier heights, complete with a satisfying pull of mozzarella in every bite. You’ve never had a pesto like this before.
Want more cheesy recipes? Enjoy the fresh taste of Arla’s natural cheeses in these other Naturally Filipino Pastas:
- ¼ cup local cashews
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups packed basil leaves
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
Three Cheese Pesto Pasta
- 250g short tube pasta, like fusilli or penne
- 1 cup Arla Whipping Cream
- ¼ cup Arla Unsalted Butter
- 50g Arla Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
- 50g Arla Gouda Cheese, shredded
- 50g Arla Cheddar Cheese, shredded
- ½ cup Cashew Pesto
Toast cashews: Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add cashews and toast, stirring with a spatula or shaking the pan frequently, until evenly browned and fragrant, about 3–5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Make cashew pesto: Pulse garlic cloves in a food processor until finely chopped. Add toasted cashews and pulse until broken down. If basil leaves are large, roughly chop the leaves with a knife once or twice to cut them down to smaller pieces. Add basil leaves, working in batches if your food processor is small, and pulse to incorporate into the cashew mixture. Stop and scrape the sides of the food processor as necessary. Gradually add olive oil until a green paste forms.
Cook pasta: Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions, or until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water for the sauce.
Make cheese sauce: Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add Arla Whipping Cream and stir into the melted butter. Continue cooking until thickened, about 2–3 minutes. Once thick, add shredded Arla Mozzarella, Gouda, and Cheddar to the pan. Fold cheese into the cream until melted. Add cashew pesto and stir until you get a thick, evenly colored sauce.
Finish and serve: Add cooked pasta to the pesto sauce. Stir and toss to evenly coat. If the sauce gets too thick, thin it out with a bit of reserved pasta water; you don’t need to use all of it. Divide pasta between serving bowls. Finish with shredded Arla Cheddar Cheese, if desired. Serve immediately.