Rating: 3.1 stars
313 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 49
  • 4 star values: 51
  • 3 star values: 116
  • 2 star values: 77
  • 1 star values: 20

This simple Italian sauce brings summery flavor to all sorts of dishes, including our Pesto Pizzas and Chicken Fettuccine with Pesto Cream Sauce. Pesto is traditionally made with cheese, but it's just as good without (it freezes better, too).

Everyday Food, September 2005

Gallery

Read the full recipe after the video.

Recipe Summary

prep:
30 mins
total:
30 mins
Yield:
Makes 1 3/4 cups
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until golden and fragrant, tossing once, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.

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  • Meanwhile, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil; add basil, and submerge with a spoon. Immediately drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water until cool, then pat basil completely dry in paper towels.

  • In a food processor, combine nuts, basil, and garlic; season generously with salt and pepper. Process until nuts are finely chopped. With machine running, pour oil in a steady stream through the feed tube; process until smooth. Use immediately, or freeze.

Cook's Notes

When you plan on freezing pesto, cook the basil briefly in salted water before mixing with the other ingredients; this will help preserve its bright color and fresh taste. To freeze, spoon pesto into an ice-cube tray (2 tablespoons per cube); cover with plastic wrap. Freeze overnight, then transfer cubes to a resealable plastic bag; keep up to 6 months. Defrost pesto at room temperature, about 20 minutes (or at 30-second intervals in the microwave). Mash with a fork before using in recipes.

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Reviews (10)

313 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 49
  • 4 star values: 51
  • 3 star values: 116
  • 2 star values: 77
  • 1 star values: 20
Rating: Unrated
05/18/2017
Forgot the parm - a must have! I just toast my pine nuts in a small skillet on the stovetop. Must stir and remove promptly - it happens fast! But this saves energy and time. We always make 4 cups and have it over thin spaghetti for the two of us. A nice, light supper.
Rating: Unrated
06/10/2010
I've used pistachios instead of the pine nuts and really like it better than walnuts
Rating: Unrated
07/23/2009
Great recipe, very simple and easy and good results. My kids and hubby loved it and so did I. I think I'd like to add parmigiana cheese next time though just for more flavor.
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Rating: Unrated
04/14/2009
Can basil pesto pasta be refrigerated and served cold the same as other pasta salads such as macaroni salad?
Rating: Unrated
10/01/2008
Yes Silvia, add the cheeses. I have for years, and to freeze, be sure to drizzle olive oil over the top of the pesto, cover and it keeps its color WITHOUT blanching the basl. Never micro to thaw, it will turn the pesto into a glob.
Rating: Unrated
07/25/2008
Hi, I'm Silvia and I'm italian. For the original pesto recipe (a tipish plate from "Liguria", near Tuscany where I live), you have to had 1/2 cup of parmigiano cheese and a 1/2 of pecorino cheese. Try and tell me :-)
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Rating: Unrated
07/19/2008
Very easy to make. I have made this every summer for the past 3 yrs. I always mean to freeze it, but its so yummy we eat it up before we can!
Rating: Unrated
06/01/2008
Excellent!! I had a lot of people at my beach house and prepared it, served it over spaghetti, everybody liked it. Sonia Cobar - Guatemala City
Rating: Unrated
05/30/2008
I also add a tablespoon of butter just to add some richness. I grow my own basil and make large batches of this pesto. It is great on bread, chicken or pasta.
Rating: Unrated
05/26/2008
Add baby spinach chopped finely to keep pesto green when use with pasta.
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