Basic pesto should be a staple recipe in any kitchen! It’s so simple, yet extremely delicious and versatile. You can use it tossed in pasta, or to top a chicken parmesan, and mixed in a chicken lasagna, the possibilities are endless.
This sauce originates from Genoa, the capital city of Liguria, Italy. It traditionally consists of crushed garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil leaves, hard cheese such as Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino, all blended with olive oil.
It is easily adjusted and can be made to taste so feel free to add more or less of any ingredients based on what you have at home. You can also switch the pine nuts for other nuts such as walnuts. I adjust the recipe every time according to how much basil I have at home, I grow it in my garden and usually I want to use it all before it goes bad, I also like to add a little extra cheese!
3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
3/4 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil or regular oil
1/3 cup pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
1/8 teaspoon black pepper, more to taste
In a food processor pulse basil and pine nuts a few times until combined.
Add the garlic and cheese, pulse several times stopping to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.
While the food processor is running, slowly add the olive oil. Adding the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating.
Stir in salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Toss with pasta or serve as preferred.
- Basil pesto darkens when exposed to air, so to store, cover tightly with plastic wrap making sure the plastic is touching the top of the pesto and not allowing the pesto to have contact with air. The pesto will stay greener longer that way.
- Based on your preferred consistency you might need to add a little more oil.
- If you don't have a food processor you can use a blender.