Fresh Basil Pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto

A delicious basic recipe for pesto made with fresh basil leaves, garlic, cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil.


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves* (without the stalks)
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts , preferably toasted**
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (or Pecorino cheese, or a combination)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper , to taste


  1. Place basil leaves, garlic, and nuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula as needed. Add olive oil slowly in a steady stream while food processor is running (to help prevent separation) until you get a smooth paste. Add the cheese and pulse several time more. Don’t over process. You want each of the ingredients to retain their texture. Season with salt and pepper.
  2. Place pesto in a jar and cover with lid.
  3. Pesto will keep for a week in the refrigerator.
  4. * Half of the basil leaves can be substituted with spinach.
  5. ** To toast the pine nuts, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes in a preheated 350F/180C oven, or until lightly browned and fragrant. Allow to cool before using. Alternately, you can toast them in a skillet over medium-low heat for a few short minutes.