Making homemade pesto is easy - you just need a handful of ingredients and a food processor. It's so much tastier than the store-bought variety. Find out how to make pesto sauce now!
Did you know that pesto sauce was traditionally made with a pestle and mortar?
I'm pretty sure some childhood memories have just flashed back to me where my parents did this. Maybe my sister will confirm this, or she will just say she doesn't remember since she hates cooking. 😛
Anyhow, this easy pesto recipe is made using a food processor to save some time.
Clearly I'm in a research kind of mood, because I just found out that "pesto" is a term that describes anything that is made by pounding (like in a pestle and mortar).
So, in Italy, "pesto" doesn't just mean the green sauce we North Americans associate with the word.
So, technically, this recipe here should be called pesto alla genovese since it originated in Genoa, Italy. Now you know.
If you've planted some basil in your garden, save this basil pesto recipe for when you really need to use it up!
What are the classic pesto ingredients?
Basil, pine nuts, olive oil, garlic, and Parmesan cheese.
What kind of cheeses can you use in pesto?
Typically, Parmesan is used in homemade pesto. You can also use Pecorino or Grana Padano.
Tips to make the best pesto
- Quickly toasting the pine nuts gives them an extra-delicious nutty flavor.
- The pesto will only be as good as the ingredients you use, so I like to use good olive oil and grate the parmesan cheese myself (not the pre-grated kind you can find in grocery stores).
- I recommend adjusting ingredient quantities to customize the pesto to your needs. Want more garlic? Go ahead and add in more. Want more oil? Drizzle it in. Red pepper flakes for a bit of spice? Why not. You really can't go wrong making pesto from scratch.
Recipes that use pesto:
Try my avocado twist on pesto (avocado pesto).
Will you make this easy basil pesto recipe?
Let me know in the comments below!
How to Make Pesto Sauce
- 1 cup (tightly packed) basil
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- Salt & pepper to taste
- If you wish to toast the pine nuts, add them to a skillet over medium-high heat, and watch them carefully. After a few minutes, they will start to brown. Toss them often until they're lightly golden/browned on both sides. This whole process only takes about 5-10 minutes.
- Prep your other ingredients and add everything to the bowl of a food processor except for the olive oil.
- Pulse until everything is combined, then slowly drizzle the oil in while the motor is running on "low". Stop to scrape down the sides and continue processing until there's no large pieces of pine nuts.
- Transfer to a jar and store in the fridge for up to a week. Great with pasta (try my chicken pesto pasta salad if you're interested).
- You can skip toasting the pine nuts if you wish.
- Customizations: I encourage you to add more garlic, oil, or even red pepper flakes if you want it to be spicy. Play with the recipe until it tastes exactly how you want it. 🙂
- This is my beloved Kitchen Aid food processor that I used to make this pesto.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.