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Classic Italian Pesto Recipe


Pesto in a jar
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4.08 from 52 votes
This pesto recipe will become one of your favorite sauces and can be used on pasta, potatoes, crostini, grilled shrimp, steaks and more. The quality of the ingredients in this recipe is crucial. Fresh basil is essential. High quality extra virgin olive oil is essential. Good Parmesan cheese, real Parmigiano-Reggiano, not "parmesan" from the green toilet paper tube, is also essential.

Serve with: your favorite BBQ dish.


Course:
Sauces and Condiments
Cuisine:
Italian

Makes:

Servings: 1 cup

Takes:

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients

Notes:
About the basil. A little Thai basil or mint instead of 1/2 cup of the basil adds depth and complexity, but don't use a lot.
About the pine nuts. Pine nuts have become obscenely expensive in recent years, especially the good ones from Italy, so you can substitute green pistachios, sunflower seeds, unsalted cashews, and blanched skinless almonds if you wish.
About the olives. The original Genovese recipe doesn't include olives, but I don't care. They taste great. There are many ways to make love and as many ways to make pesto.
About the salt. Remember, kosher salt is half the concentration of table salt so if you use table salt, use half as much. Click here to read more about salt and how it works.
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Prep. Remove the seeds from the olives. Coarsely chop the garlic first because blenders and food processors often don't do a good job on them.
  • Dump all the ingredients except the oil into a blender or food processor and let 'er rip until everything is chopped fine, but not homogeneous.
  • Slowly drizzle in the oil while the blades are on a low setting until, presto, pesto, you have a paste. The fragrance is heavenly. It can be kept in a tight jar in the fridge for a week before it starts to brown. If you need to keep it longer, top it with olive oil as a seal. Or freeze it. It freezes very well.