Pesto Piccante Pasta Sauce

Pesto Piccante Pasta Sauce

Pesto Piccante Pasta Sauce

After having made variations on this recipe for quite a while, I discovered that the name I came up with, Pesto Piccante, has, already been used before, chiefly, as far as I can see, for commercial tomato-based productions looking a bit like an Italian Salsa. Well, screw it … I am going to use the name anyway.

I originally put together this Pesto with a view to doing something a little different than the usual Genoese style with garlic and pine-nuts, and I decided to use green olives and green Jalapeno for a tangier, spicier result. As with the typical Pesto alla Genovese, this sauce is quite versatile and can have many used beyond being a pasta (as a Bruschetta topping, or a condiment for grilled meat, for instance), but it definitely shines on freshly cooked pasta and, if you follow along, I will show you an example of a very nice spaghetti dish using it that way.

The Basic Recipe

Well, as per the Recipe Card Below, the method for making the Pesto Piccante requires nothing more than adding all of the ingredients to a food processor and ‘whizzing’ until smooth.

Anyway, I made a batch of spaghetti for supper for myself, and it went like this:

A ‘Carbonara’ style Egg and Cheese Mix
A ‘Carbonara’ style Egg and Cheese Mix

Although I was making a pesto coated pasta dish, I also decided to do a ‘Carbonara’ style finish and so, while the pasta was boiling, I beat an egg in a bowl and stirred in a generous tablespoon of Parmesan cheese.

Frying Anchovy Paste in Butter
Frying Anchovy Paste in Butter

Just before the spaghetti became ‘al dente’, I melted a generous tablespoon of butter and stirred in bare tablespoon of anchovy paste. You can omit this, if you like, but the addition lends a lovely umami depth to many pasta sauces without giving it in sort of ‘fishy’ taste.

Cooking Pasta with Pest Piccante and Pasta Cooking Water
Cooking Pasta with Pest Piccante and Pasta Cooking Water

When the pasta was done, I drained it and reserved just a little of the pasta water. I dropped the pasta into my butter and cooked it, adding a little of the water as the pasta absorbed the butter to make a very thin coating sauce.

A dish of Spaghetti in a Pesto Piccante Pasta Sauce
A dish of Spaghetti in a Pesto Piccante Pasta Sauce

Finally, I took the pan from the heat and added in the egg mixture, stirring quickly to coat the spaghetti before the egg could coagulate in clumps. I served it garnished with a sprig of the fresh basil …

Your Recipe Card:

Pesto Piccante Pasta Sauce

This Pesto Piccante Pasta Sauce omits the usual Pine-nuts and Parmesan, and adds Olives and Green Chili for a more tangy and piquant result.
Course: Condiment, Sauce
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Basil, Green Chili, Olive Oil, Olives, Pesto
Author: John Thompson


  • 1 bunch fresh Basil;
  • 8 large green, pitted Olives;
  • 1 small green Jalapeno Pepper;
  • ¼ of a small Onion;
  • 1 tsp. ground Green Peppercorns;
  • 4 Tbsp. Olive Oil;
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Salt; and
  • 1 pinch dried Sage.


  • Put all of the ingredients together in a food processor and process to a smooth paste consistency.
  • The yield will be approximately ¾ of a cup, and, is using as pasta sauce, two to three tablespoons per portion will be sufficient.
  • Store refrigerated with a thin film of oil on top.


    1. Author

      You can incorporate a little parsley too for a different effect.

Comments, questions or suggestions most welcome!