This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more
A beloved staple of Italian cuisine, our basil pesto recipe brings bold, mouthwatering flavor to the foray, and it can be used in an incredible selection of different dishes.
While so many people opt for store-bought pesto, it is actually very straightforward to make your own basil pesto from scratch. If you want to wow your partner, family, or dinner guests with your very own serving of this beloved green sauce, you’ve come to the right place!
Basil Pesto Recipe
To make this basil pesto recipe, you’ll need the following:
- Pine Nuts – 1/3 cup
- Garlic – 2 cloves
- Fresh Basil Leaves – 2 cups
- Freshly Grated Parmigiano Reggiano – 1/2 cup
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil – 1/2 cup
- Salt – a pinch of salt
- Black Pepper – 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
To make authentic pesto, all of the above ingredients need to be combined together using a pestle and mortar. For an easier but less traditional way that requires far less physical exertion, you can use a food processor for the following steps.
We, however, have opted to honor tradition and do things the old-fashioned way using a mortar and pestle, as shown below.
How you make your pesto is entirely up to you. However, if using a mortar or pestle, be mindful of the size of your mortar, as you don’t want to fill it with so many ingredients that they spill out when grinding.
Step 1 – Start by giving your garlic cloves a good crush with the surface area of a knife, and add the crushed cloves to the mortar. Give them a good grind with the pestle.
Step 2 – Next, add your pine nuts, and continue to mash the two ingredients together.
Aim to grind both of the ingredients together into a thick paste, as shown below.
Step 3 – Add your basil leaves and a pinch of salt, and continue to grind all the ingredients together.
Once the basil leaves start to break up, you’ll start to see your pesto slowly taking shape. The basil leaves will thicken the paste, adding moisture and that iconic green color to your pesto.
Step 4 – Now add in the parmesan cheese, and continue to mash all the ingredients together.
With your garlic, parmesan cheese, and basil leaves all in play, now the various aromas will really start coming to the forefront.
Continue to mash until your pesto is thick and viscous. You do not need to completely break down all the ingredients.
Step 5 – Drizzle in the olive oil, giving the sauce a good mix as it is added.
It really is that simple. Once your olive oil has been added, your sauce is good to go.
Freshly made basil pesto can truly serenade the senses. Olive oil, parmesan cheese, and garlic are all renowned for their deep aromas and bound by the strong, sweet smell of the basil leaves, this is a green sauce your dinner guests will smell long before it reaches the table.
Then there’s the magic of the flavor. Fresh basil pesto has a strong, rich flavor, with nutty, earthy, and salty notes wrapped in a creamy texture.
Even just thinking about it is enough to make you salivate!
Basil Pesto Recipe Card
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano reggiano
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- a pinch of salt
- 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
- Add the crushed garlic cloves to the mortar. Give them a good grind with the pestle.
- Next, add your pine nuts, and continue to mash the two ingredients together. The pine nuts will start releasing their oils. Aim to grind both of the ingredients together into a thick paste.
- Add the basil leaves and a pinch of salt and continue to grind all the ingredients together. Once the basil leaves start to break down, you’ll start to see your pesto slowly taking shape. The basil leaves will thicken the paste, adding moisture and that iconic green color to your pesto.
- Now add in the parmesan cheese, and continue to mash all the ingredients together.
- Continue to mash until your pesto is thick and viscous. You do not need to completely break down all the ingredients.
- Drizzle in the olive oil, giving the sauce a good mix as it is added.
You can make this in a food processor as well by adding all your ingredients (except the olive oil) to the food processor and mixing it all together until the paste is formed and then slowly drizzling in the olive oil.
You Might Also Like to Read
Author: Doina is a passionate home cook and content writer who loves to try new foods when traveling to different countries and use the new dishes and recipes she tries to inspire her own cooking.