Lemon Artichoke Pesto Pasta



My little one is sprawled out beside me, her arms above her head and her lips quivering ever so slightly as she dreams. I spent the afternoon with her wrapped to my chest (all new moms should invest in a Moby Wrap), and we made a bowl of pasta together. A delicious bowl of pasta. Because while there are a host of things not getting done around my house, I am managing to bake and cook again, which feels so very good.


During summer months, I crave pesto. Because you can’t go wrong with basil, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and olive oil. Earlier this season, I had bought a basil plant that I nurtured each day. The plant flourished, meaning I could have pesto anytime I wanted. But when Lucille arrived, my attention rightly went elsewhere. Our poor basil plant is now dried and shriveled with only one or two yellow buds. So when I received this delicious Hirten cheese from Castello, I knew I had to find a new recipe for pesto pasta. One without basil and one with heaps of pungent cheese.


And so this lemon artichoke pesto pasta was born. While this pasta looks lovely on an outdoor table on a cool summer night, it can be made and enjoyed year round. Canned artichoke hearts are readily available (be it July or December!). If you’re feeling ambitious, you could use fresh artichokes (serve them as an appetizer one night and then save the hearts for this recipe) but I think the canned variety works just as well.


And did I mention this cheese? Castello Alps Selection cheeses are produced with milk from cows grazing the Alps in small, mountain farms. The quality of milk is evident in these handcrafted cheeses. For my pesto recipe, I used Castello Hirten, which has a rich and complex taste with slightly sweet overtones. It works well in recipes that call for the classic Parmesan.

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Lemon Artichoke Pesto Pasta

1 14-oz jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 cup pine nuts or walnuts

1/3 cup fresh parsley

1/4 cup freshly grated Hirten cheese

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste (I seasoned very generously!)

1 lb spinach pasta (I used fettuchini)

1 carton grape tomatoes, cut into halves

Additional cheese for grating over pasta
In the large bowl of a food processor, combine artichoke hearts, garlic cloves, pine nuts, parsley, cheese, lemon zest and lemon juice. Pulse until well blended. Add the olive oil to the feed tube and let it slowly drain into the bowl as you blend. Salt and pepper to taste. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain (but do not rinse). Add artichoke pesto and grape tomatoes to warm pasta. Generously grate Hirten cheese over top. Serve warm.


Anecdotes and Apple Cores

35 thoughts on “Lemon Artichoke Pesto Pasta

  1. Pam

    I’ve been away for awhile and so I have gone back through your posts to see and read all about Lucy. Congratulations, to you Monet, and your hubby. She is adorable with all that dark hair and those big eyes. She is a joy for the both of you for sure, and what a difference she will make in your lives. Here’s wishing you all the best in the many happy years ahead. Hugs and kisses your way!

  2. Hotly Spiced

    I hope you’re managing well with the heat. I had two summer babies and I remember how hot I would get breast-feeding and the baby would be hot and sweaty too. And they get so thirsty so you have to feed them more frequently. You become so aware of body heat. I love the look of your pasta and yes, a perfect dish all year round. I use bottled artichokes! xx

  3. Alfred Richardson

    A light and lemony variation on the traditional pesto, this version combines fresh parsley and basil. Toss with your favorite pasta, or spoon over grilled fish or chicken breasts. To toast the pine nuts, place them on a baking sheet and bake in a 350°F oven until golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

  4. Percy F. Kim

    A quick process and then it is almost done. All that is left is stirring in the cheese and hand chopped pine nuts. I will add more olive oil to get the consistency I prefer. It should be thick but not like a paste. Then the pesto fest begins. I put it on pasta (croxetti is my favorite – see my Pasta With Butter Thyme Sauce to see how croxetti looks). Pesto on shrimp, chicken, or turkey is out of this world. For an easy appetizer slice fresh from the garden tomatoes and add a dollop of pesto on top of each slice.

  5. Jessie

    Those eyes! What a lovely photo :) I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying cooking and baking (and the other stuff can wait, anyway 😉 ). This artichoke pesto looks delicious! I’ve never tried making an artichoke variety, but I think I will because all our basil has gone to seed already!

    Enjoy your weekend, Monet! :)

  6. Annie

    Pesto and summer go hand in hand for me too. A little vino and this pasta on my patio sounds like my ideal summer evening. And I see you have a little puddin’ to go with your pasta (Lucy of course) and she has such gorgeous eyes, just beautiful overall. I pinned the Moby wrap to my ‘Nursery’ board. I try to gather suggestions from my mom pals for future reference. Keep ’em coming!

  7. Monica

    This bowl of pasta looks so good, Monet! You are incredible to be cooking and baking so much with little Lucy. Enjoy!

  8. Samantha

    We’ve been using mint from our mint plant in our pesto as a substitute for basil. The flavor is a bit different but very interesting and tasty, and the mint plant is fairly easy to keep up with.

  9. Julia {The Roasted Root}

    Oh my gosh, she is so beautiful!!! You must be absolutely addicted to staring at your daughter, what a precious girl! Love this post! I got to try the Castello cheeses too and wish I still had some Hirten around to sprinkle on top this lovely pasta dish!

  10. Becky

    Lucy is beautiful, and those eyes…, just gorgeous. I love the colors in the pesto as, well as till those wonderful flavors with the cheese. We have several basil plants, so I might add a little basil to the recipe! Can’t wait to try this one!

  11. Eileen

    Look at that full head of hair! Beautiful. And a beautiful pasta too! :) Using artichoke hearts in a pesto sounds so pungent and delicious.

  12. Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking

    Look at little Lucy’s big, beautiful eyes! She’s just an angel, Monet. Glad to hear you’re getting back to cooking, baking and doing what you love. It must be hard not to lose your identity in those chubby baby cheeks and soulful eyes! Thanks for sharing this scrumptious summer meal. Enjoy your weekend!

  13. kitchen flavours

    Cute photo of Lucy! I love seeing her photos!
    Artichoke pesto sounds interesting, this is one ingredient that is not easily available here. I have seen the canned ones though, but have never tried it. I should really, one of these days!

  14. TheKitchenLioness

    Monet, sounds like you are doing so well – your picture of your daughter is amazingly cute and it wonderful to read that you find the time and strength to cook and bake and blog and enjoy it! The recipe for Artichoke Pesto sounds so very interesting and delicious!
    Have a wonderful weekend!

  15. Joanne

    How does she get more and more beautiful every day! i love that you cooked this with her strapped to you. Sharing your love of food with her from day one!

  16. sallybr

    She is absolutely gorgeous, look at those eyes, already scrutinizing the world!

    as to your pasta, you might have just “decided” my dinner for me. I have pork chops but was struggling with what to serve to go with it…

    artichoke pesto sounds great, I have frozen artichoke hearts waiting for me

  17. gold price

    When you’re done, this is what you have, a bowl of bright green pesto with an incredible fragrant aroma. Tonight I served it with fusilli pasta (aka rotini or corkscrew pasta) topped with a little parmesan and pine nuts and a few pieces of artisan crusty bread on the side. And as one of my favorite chefs, Lucinda Scala Quinn, says, “Moms, if you have picky eaters this is a great way to get vegetables into your kids”. I couldn’t agree more, not too many kids willingly eat spinach which makes this the perfect vehicle for a nutritious dinner delivering a whole slew of vitamins and minerals to growing kids.

  18. Terra

    Oh wow, I haven’t stopped by in awhile. I love enjoying all your pics on FB, your little sweetie is precious! This pesto pasta sounds like a dish hubby and I would devour! Yum, Hugs, Terra

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