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Basil Pesto

Basil Pesto


  • About 2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 to 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan or other hard cheese


Rinse your basil, discard the big central stems, and pat dry. Crush your garlic with your preferred method. Lightly toast your pine nuts or walnuts in a dry skillet or on a baking sheet in an oven at 350 for 5-10 minutes. (With either method, be sure to move the nuts around often - they burn easily. They're done when the outside is brown, not black, and they taste good!) Combine the basil, salt, garlic, nuts and about 1/4 cup of the oil in a food processor or blender, or smush together by hand. Add the rest of the oil gradually as the smushing/processing continues. Store in the fridge or freeze!

Adapted from an older edition of Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything

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