Homemade Testaroli with Pesto

Testaroli is a classic Italian pasta that's cooked in two steps: first it's baked in the oven, then it's boiled until tender. Here we top it with a fresh basil-and-parsley pesto. Read more about testaroli here.

Homemade Testaroli with Pesto
Photo: Francesca Zani and Johncarlo Zani
Active Time:
20 mins
Total Time:
1 hr



  • 1 ½ cups 00 flour (see Tip)

  • 1 ½ cups cold water

  • ¾ teaspoon salt, preferably Himalayan sea salt, divided


  • 4 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves (larger ones torn)

  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves (or additional basil)

  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons finely grated Pecorino Romano, plus more Pecorino or Parmesan for serving

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, roughly chopped

  • 1 teaspoon pine nuts

  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. To prepare testaroli: Set a large cast-iron skillet (or other heavy oven-safe skillet) on the middle oven rack; preheat to 400°F. Once the oven has preheated, let the pan continue heating for 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a bare simmer. Whisk flour, water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl until smooth.

  3. Coat the heated skillet with olive oil spray and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Pour in half the batter, making sure it's evenly spread around the pan. Bake until the testaroli is set in the center (the top will be pale and some air bubbles may appear while baking), about 15 minutes. Carefully remove from the oven and, using a spatula, flip the testaroli out of the pan onto a cutting board. Repeat with the remaining batter.

  4. While the testaroli is in the oven, make the pesto: Place basil, parsley (or additional basil), oil, 2 tablespoons cheese, garlic, pine nuts and salt into a food processor; pulse until smooth. (Alternatively, place garlic and pine nuts in a large mortar and pestle; grind until mostly smooth. Add basil and parsley, if using, in batches and use sprinkles of salt to help grind the mixture down into almost a paste-like consistency. Stir in cheese and oil.)

  5. When cool enough to handle, cut the testaroli into 2½- to 3-inch pieces and place in the simmering water. Cook gently until soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the testaroli to a shallow bowl or platter and spoon the pesto over the top in layers. Generously sprinkle with grated Pecorino (or Parmesan), if desired, and enjoy.

To make ahead

Refrigerate pesto (Step 4) for up to 3 days. Remove the pesto from the fridge an hour before using to bring to room temperature.


00 flour is a very finely ground flour that gives pasta a tender texture. If you can't find it, you can substitute all-purpose flour—your pasta might be a little tougher but it will be no less delicious.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

564 Calories
43g Fat
38g Carbs
8g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size about 1 cup
Calories 564
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 38g 14%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Protein 8g 16%
Total Fat 43g 55%
Saturated Fat 6g 30%
Cholesterol 2mg 1%
Vitamin A 3544IU 71%
Sodium 653mg 28%
Potassium 270mg 6%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

Related Articles