How to Make Pesto

October 9, 2012


I had this really awesome basil plant that I picked up fully grown at a German grocery store for just 2 euro and it was finally on its way out. I’m kind of cursed like that. I can’t grow plants. They seem to die almost as soon as they take up residence. I was surprised how long it lasted though, almost two months! I think that’s a record. Anyways, I didn’t want all the leaves to go to waste so I decided to do something useful with them- make pesto! There is nothing like some fresh, homemade pesto. Here is the rundown on how I make it-

The very first thing I do is toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet until lightly toasted and fragrant.

A few of them got a little too toasty as you can see.


Then take the same skillet and heat the cold olive oil with the garlic cloves smashed.

Do NOT wait to add the garlic when the olive oil has heated, that defeats the purpose of this technique.

And you don’t want to cook the garlic, just flavor the oil with it.

Set aside both the olive oil and pine nuts to cool down to room temperature.


Meanwhile add the basil leaves, parmesan, and salt to a food processor bowl, then the pine nuts once cool enough.


Once the olive oil is cool enough, pour that in too, along with all the garlic cloves.


Process until everything is smooth. Some people prefer their pesto a little more chunky, it’s a personal call really.

And as far as the thickness, you just play that by ear too. If you feel like your pesto is too pasty, add another splash of olive oil and give it another whirl. Keep doing this until it’s the consistency you want.

And that’s it! That is all there is to it.

Now you’re left with a beautifully green, fresh, delicious pesto!!

And the best part is that pesto freezes super well, so if you have any leftover it’s easy to store. Some people portion it out in ice cube trays, which I think is pretty clever.

How to Make Pesto
Serves: 1 1/2 cups
  • 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  1. Toast pine nuts in dry skillet until golden brown; set aside in bowl to cool. Pour room temperature olive oil into cold skillet and add smashed garlic cloves. Slowly heat olive oil and garlic until warm and fragrant, 5-10 minutes; set aside in bowl to cool.
  2. Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and nuts in the bowl of a food processor or blender. Blend to a smooth paste. Season to taste if needed.



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