Classic Basil Pesto

July 17, 2019 Updated: July 17, 2019

Classic Basil Pesto

Chef’s Notes: There is no substitute for picking the basil fresh off the plant and making pesto within minutes. If you have homegrown basil of your own, I think you’ll feel the same way! But if you don’t have access to a garden, don’t worry. Basil from the grocery store will do just fine.

Makes about 1 cup

Total Time: 10 minutes

  • 4 cups basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 6 garlic cloves, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a food processor. Pulse for several seconds, until the mixture turns into a paste. Slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube while pulsing, then pulse for about 10 seconds. Scrape down the sides and pulse once or twice more. If you prefer a smoother, looser consistency, add a little more olive oil and continue pulsing. When the pesto is to your liking, use immediately or transfer it to a jar, top with a thin layer of olive oil, cover, and refrigerate until ready to use.

Reprinted with permission from “Pesto: The Modern Mother Sauce” by Leslie Lennox, Agate Surrey, 2019.

Pesto cookbook cover
“Pesto: The Modern Mother Sauce” by Leslie Lennox (Agate Surrey, $26).
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