Italian Pesto Pasta Salad The key to this easy dish is a quality pesto. If you have a few extra minutes, make your own: In a food processor combine 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, 1/4 cup grated Parmiagiano-Reggiano cheese, 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, 2 Tbsp. water, 1 clove garlic, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and freshly ground pepper. Process until desired consistency.