Fresh Basil Pesto

1Pesto is so versatile that it can be used in pasta, on top of pizza, as a spread on panini, and is complimentary to many different kinds of meat. This is a very flavorful, quick and easy recipe.


  • 2 cups fresh basil, packed
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 parmesan or Romano cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper, freshly ground


  1. In a dry pan on medium high heat, toast the pine nuts until they are very lightly toasted. Remove from heat and set aside. (The reason for toasting them is not for the toasted flavor, but rather to bring out the creamy texture of the pine nuts as you heat them.) Allow to cool.
  2. Wash and completely dry the basil leaves. Remove the stems and place the basil leaves in a blender or food processor.
  3. In a small bowl using a fork, smash the salt into the garlic making a paste. Place garlic paste into the blender. Add the cooled pine nuts and pepper.
  4. Turn the blender on and start to slowly add the olive oil in a steady stream. Add as much oil as you desire to reach the desired consistency. You may have to scrape down the sides of the blender from time to time to incorporate all the ingredients together. Process until smooth.
  5. Add the grated cheese and blend just until incorporated.
  6. Remove the pesto from the blender and place in small bowl. Allow to sit at room temperature for an hour for the flavors to meld. If you are not using after this time frame, then add a thin layer of olive oil on top of the pesto, cover and refrigerate. This will protect the pesto from turning brown.


- To pack the basil:  Place the basil in a measuring cup and push down as you add it to the measuring cup, packing it down good.

- The amount of olive oil may vary depending on the recipe you use it in.

- As much as I love garlic, I don't like the garlic to overpower the fresh basil flavor. Add or reduce the garlic in this recipe as you desire. The amount of parmesan cheese and pine nuts can be adjusted also to your liking.

- Pesto means Italian sauce.

- Tips:

-  Pesto can also be frozen. Place it in ice cube trays to easily pull out as many as you want. However, for best results omit the parmesan cheese before freezing and add when ready to use.


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