Classic Basil Pesto

Traditionally, a classic basil pesto includes pine nuts and hard cheese like parmigiana-reggiano and pecorino Romano, Tuscano or Sardano.

You can use almonds or walnuts if you prefer.

The classic way to serve basil pesto is over pasta - fettucine or spaghetti are the main choices - I've used tagliettelle in the photo, but the point is, to have long strands which can be coated all over in this classic sauce.

Basil Pesto

  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • 1  cups fresh basil, rinsed, dry, loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

Imperial and metric

  • 3 cloves fresh garlic
  • good handful fresh basil
  • 2 oz/50g parmesan
  • 1 oz/25 g pine nuts, walnuts
  • 5fl oz/150 ml extra-virgin olive oil

To make the pesto:

Add the garlic, basil, parmesan, nuts and half the olive oil to the bowl of your food processor.

Process until the herbs and garlic are chopped up a bit.

With your machine running, add the rest of the olive oil in a smooth gradual stream.

This is easily done through the small circular port in the lid of your food processor's bowl.

Process until a smooth paste forms.

This will make a little over one cup of pesto.

If the pesto is a bit thick add a little extra olive oil one teaspoon at a time and process the paste until you are happy with the consistency.

You can mix this straight into just drained pasta - the pesto will melt and cling to every strand if you mix it in thoroughly.

I find it to be quite economical. If I have a tomato based sauce on my pasta, I tend to go very heavy with the cheese but I don't have extra with basil pesto as if you coat the pasta evenly, you get the taste with every mouthful!

What would you like to see next?

Basil on Flatbread or Bruschetta

Growing Basil 

Caprese Salad

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Classic Basil Pesto


Classic Basil Pesto

Superb basil pesto recipe that is very easy to make. Gorgeous with some hot pasta.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 0 minutes

Yield: 4

Main Ingredient: basil

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