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Basic Pesto. The perfect pesto recipe to use as the base to create your favorite pesto - just substitute other greens, nuts, cheeses and seasonings. Simply Sated
3.1 from 21 votes
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Basic Pesto

The perfect pesto recipe to use as the base to create your favorite - just substitute other greens, nuts, cheeses and seasonings. Pesto = Greens + nuts + cheese + olive oil + salt + pepper.
Course Appetizer, Pasta Entree, Sauce, Topping
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 1 /2-3/4 cup
Author Susie Gall

Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves packed (or use part basil, baby spinach, parsley or cilantro)
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and rough-chopped
  • ¼ cup pine nuts toasted (or walnuts or pecans - almost any nut can be used)
  • ½ cup 8 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼-½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano Parmesan cheese or any hard cheese.
  • *Possible variations: Roasted Red peppers / Sage / Shallots / Thyme

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade, pulse the basil, garlic, pine nuts, salt & pepper until coarsely chopped.

  2. With the motor running, slowly pour in 6 tablespoons of olive oil and process until smooth and oil is fully incorporated. Add cheese (*see storage note if refrigerating or freezing for later use) and pulse just a couple of times to combine.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Serve immediately or *see storage note.
  5. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

*Storage: If refrigerating, place in an airtight container, cover with a thin layer of oil and seal the container. Pesto, especially basil pesto, darkens when exposed to air. Use within 2 weeks and replace oil each time before resealing.
If freezing, omit the cheese until ready to serve. Before freezing, drizzle pesto with a thin layer of olive oil. When ready to serve, and after pesto has thawed in the fridge, add the cheese and mix well. Pesto will keep in the freezer up to 3 months.