Pesto Recipe



  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup pecorino romano cheese (grated)
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 2/3 cup olive oil (or more)

How to make Pesto

The pesto is fantastic in pasta dishes. For a great appetizer or snack add two tablespoons to 1.5 cups of hummus mix well and serve with vegetables and pita bread.

If you are hardcore you can throw on a toga and make this with a huge mortar and pestle. Personally, I use a blender. (And I'm sure a food processor would be even more convenient.)

  1. Toast the pine nuts lightly in a 350F/177C oven. Let cool.

  2. Chop up the basil (if the leaves are large) and push all the basil to the bottom of the blender. Add olive oil and pulse blend with the basil. Use a chopstick or spatula to keep scraping the sides down and compressing all the ingredients.

  3. Add the garlic cloves, more oil, pulse and scrape.

  4. Then add the pine nuts, more oil, keep blending and scraping.

  5. Add all the cheese, and add the rest of the oil (or extra oil).

  6. Blend well until all the ingredients are homogenized. I enjoy a pesto paste, which requires less oil, but if you prefer more of a sauce texture, you can add as much oil as necessary. The pesto should be a bright green. As it oxidizes, it will turn a darker shade of green.

Store in an air-tight 16 fl oz/474 ml jar. Will keep for up to a month. (I've never tried freezing it, but if anyone does so successfully, let me know.)

  • yongfook
    yongfook says

    that photo would be all the more beautiful if brightened up a tad. If you have photoshop try adjusting the curves in Image > Adjustments > Curves. If you have iPhoto just use the "Exposure" slider under Adjust.

  • rachel
    rachel says

    i love love love pesto. one way i do it differently is to NOT toast the pine nuts that i'm gonna bash up (yes I'm a traveller down the hard mortar-and-pestle road), and reserve a small handful which I toast and use to garnish it. I find when using raw pine nuts in the sauce the flavour's buttery and richer. :)

  • iconsam
    iconsam says

    The raw pine nuts is a great idea. I'm big fan of raw pine nuts in foods. As well as the pestle and mortar.

  • Vivren
    Vivren says

    I have a mortar and pestle but I literally just don't have the arm strength to grind the basil leaves. What can I say, I'm a wimp. I should start weight training and then when people ask what I'm training for, I can tell them it's for my love of FOOD. Rachel and iconsam: I have definitely used raw pine nuts and can say that it is very good. I've also completely left them our (for people who are allergic to nuts) and it is still okay, but I think it's better with the nuts.

  • Cammmm
    Cammmm says

    I kind of want to just eat a big bowl of that pesto, it looks so gooey green delicious.

  • annie
    annie says

    try a mezzaluna if the pestle is too heavy, its quicker, but you get the heterogenous feel to the pesto

  • tonll
    tonll says

    do you need to refrigerate it after storing it in a jar?

  • Vivren
    Vivren says

    tonll: Yes! It keeps very well in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

  • missyb
    missyb says

    Pesto freezes totally well, too! If you have a ton of basil starting to look sleepy in the fridge you can do a quick pesto and freeze it in an airtight (I use a sandwich bag) container and chunk away pieces as you need them.

  • Denman61
    Denman61 says

    nice recipe. A tablespoon or two of lemon juice might enhance the flavors. A garlic lover might double the garlic.

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