Traditional Italian Basil Pesto

Traditional Italian Basil Pesto

Made in 15 minutes

Pesto is genius. This is the traditional recipe, which is a great place to start if you’ve never made your own, but as long as you respect the idea of using few fresh ingredients it can be switched up to your liking.

If you’re game, try swapping our pine nuts for walnuts and adding kale or spinach to make up the quantity of basil.


  • 2 packed cups of basil leaves (about 1 big bunch)

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1/2 cup parmesan, finely grated

  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

What you need to do

There’s two popular ways to make pesto: blend it lightly in a food processor, or grind it down with a mortar and pestle.

If you have time, the latter will intensify the flavour, but using a food processor is easier, and nope, won’t compromise the flavour.

If using a mortar and pestle:

  • Start by grinding down your garlic. Add a little olive oil, and add and grind the pine nuts.

  • Gradually add a few basil leaves at a time, grinding them completely before adding more. Add a few dashes of olive oil as you go to keep the moisture moist.

  • Once you’ve ground down all of the basil, add in the parmesan and more oil if you need it.

If using a food processor:

  • Add all ingredients to the food processor and blend for a few seconds, just until the they form a paste.

After you’ve made your pesto, add it to an airtight jar and add a splash of olive oil to the top to keep the freshness in. Keep it in the fridge for a few weeks of freeze it for months.

Note: There’s also a third way to make pesto: just finely chop all the ingredients. This way, aka the “rustic method” is actually great if you’re making it to serve right away.

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