Chef Folse's Pesto and Andouille Pasta

Prep Time: 45 Minutes
Yields: 6 Servings

Pesto is usually made with chopped garden herbs, such as basil, blended with pine nuts and olive oil. In south Louisiana, pecans have been substituted for pine nuts to give this pesto Southern flair. Pesto is ideal as a pasta coating or pizza topping and can also be eaten on garlic bread. You may wish to make a pesto and andouille cream to serve over grilled chicken or fish by adding ½ cup of heavy whipping cream to the final sauce.

Ingredients for Pesto:

2/3 cup loosely-packed basil leaves
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
salt and black pepper to taste


In a food processor, combine basil, pecans, Parmesan cheese and garlic. Pulse 1-2 minutes or until mixture is well chopped and blended. With processor running, add olive oil in a slow, steady stream until mixture resembles a paste. Do not over-process or basil will darken and appear unappetizing. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ingredients for Pasta:

6 cups cooked penne pasta
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup slivered garlic
1/2 cup diced andouille
1 1/2 cups pesto (see above)
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
salt and black pepper to taste
granulated garlic to taste
1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese


In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add slivered garlic and andouille and saute 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned. Add pesto and red pepper flakes and cook an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and adjust seasonings to taste using salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Add pasta and toss to coat. Serve warm and garnish with Parmesan cheese.