Pesto Sauce

16 Reviews
93% would make this recipe again

A basil sauce with olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese.

For a born and bred Ligurian as I am, small-leaf Ligurian basil, grown in a tiny herb garden where a strong sea breeze can sometimes blow, is undoubtedly the best, and only one worth using for making Pesto... However, having lived so many years far from Liguria, I have adapted to using different basil varieties, with larger leaves and a slightly minty aftertaste.


50 leaves fresh basil, loosely packed 26 g
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts 30 g
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated 18 g
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 65 mL
1/2 tsp salt, to be added when pouring over pasta 2 g

Before you start

Only the most tender basil leaves should be used for making Pesto, possibly picked before the plant starts to flower.

A blender or food processor will be very useful to make the sauce. A marble mortar and a wooden pestle would be even better, because the metal blades of the blender do affect the taste of the basil, but it will take the cook with traditional utensils too much time to achieve the final result.


  1. Rinse the leaves briefly only if they are very dirty. Otherwise use a wet towel to clean the leaves, then pat them dry between 2 paper towels.
  2. Drop the garlic into a food processor and finely chop it. Stop the motor, add the pine nuts and basil, then process until it is chopped. Gradually add the grated cheese and work the mixture into an evenly blended paste. Finally, slowly mix in the olive oil, until a creamy, but thick consistency is achieved. It is preferable to add the salt only later, when pouring the sauce over the pasta, to avoid the darkening of the basil.
  3. Transfer the pesto to a small bowl and add olive oil just to cover it to prevent the oxidation (and darkening) of its surface. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.


The pesto keeps up to 10 days in the refrigerator or 2 months in the freezer. Remember to top up with olive oil every time you use it, to prevent oxidation.

Nutrition Facts Table

per 1 serving (70 g)


% Daily Value




45 g

1 %

Saturated 7.4 g
+ Trans 0 g

0 %


10 mg


530 mg

0 %


5 g

0 %


2 g

0 %


0 g

Net Carbs

3 g


6 g

Vitamin A

0 %

Vitamin C

0 %


0 %


0 %


This recipe is :
Free  :
Added Sugar


1 serving of this recipe is equivalent to :
Food Group Exchanges
Vegetables 0
Meat and Alternatives 0
Fats 0

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16 Reviews (14 with rating only) 93% would make this recipe again
Sort By: Most Recent | Rating | Most Helpful
february 04, 2010 | I would make this recipe again

It's so easy to make, and tasty!

Useful 1
may 18, 2009 | I would make this recipe again


Useful 1

This recipe is in the following categories

Nuts | Sauces & Dips | Halal | Kosher | Vegetarian | No Cook | Italian

Top Reviews

View All Reviews
february 04, 2010 | I would make this recipe again

It's so easy to make, and tasty!

Useful 1
may 18, 2009 | I would make this recipe again


Useful 1

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