Monday, August 4, 2008

Recipe: Making Fresh Basil Pesto

If you have ever had freshly made pesto, you already know there is no going back to the store bought variety. I am a purist when it comes to pesto- I like to make it by hand, the way my grandmother did. Part of that for me is the fact that I enjoy spending time in the kitchen whisking, chopping, kneading and the like. I get more satisfaction out of cooking if I take the time to prepare things by hand. Granted, sometimes time does not allow such leisure, but whenever possible I take advantage of it.

As with any food, the quality of your ingredients will define your results. Make sure to use freshly grated parmesan cheese and the best extra virgin olive oil you can find. The pesto keeps covered in the refrigerator for a couple of days, but it's best the day it is prepared. Use a mezzaluna or the largest knife you have to do the chopping. I like adding everything in stages which yields little bits and pieces of everything in different sizes, more rustic- instead of a homogenized paste like you would get by using a food processor.

Fresh Basil Pesto

1 bunch basil leaves, approximately 2 cups loosely packed
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup pine nuts
2-3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled

1. Stack half of the basil leaves together and begin to chop, add some garlic, pine nuts and parmessan, continue chopping while adding a bit more garlic, basil, pine nuts and parmesan. Adding the ingedients in stages will keep the pesto a bit more rustic and chunky.

Chop until a thick chunky paste is formed.

2. Press pesto into a small bowl and cover with a couple of tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil. Stir before serving.


  1. I absolutely love pesto - & this looks fantastic! The bits of pine nuts make it even more enticing...

  2. Fresh is the best.

    Great photo too.

  3. My son has a tree nut allergy, do you think this recipe would be good without pine nuts. If not do you have another pesto recipe with out nuts? Thanks. I want to try this on the seared tuna

    1. You can just leave them out, the consistency will be a little different but the flavor will still be there. Maybe add more cheese.


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