Fresh pesto, anyone? You don’t need to be a full-fledged gardener or grow all your own produce to dabble in a little basil. By all means go big in the garden if this isn’t your first rodeo, but a pot or two by the sunny window in your kitchen is a great place to start.

In fact, we love growing ours in the kitchen because it smells wonderful, and it’s easy to snap off some leaves for a fresh caprese salad, pasta sauce, chicken recipe, even dessert or cocktail garnish.

But fresh basil pesto is the stuff that dreams are made of. And it’s versatile, too, standing in as an appetizer with crusty bread, artisan crackers or veggies and delicious tossed with pasta and paired with chicken, pizza, seafood, hummus and other dips and spreads. After our first basil bumper crop, we’ve even filled a few jars, tied them with artsy twine and tag and given as gifts.

Fresh Basil Pesto

Classic, simple basil pesto recipe with fresh basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, Romano or Parmesan cheese, extra virgin olive oil, and salt and pepper.

Prep time: 15 minutes
Yield: Makes 1 cup


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (can sub half the basil leaves with baby spinach)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Romano or Parmesan-Reggiano cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (can sub chopped walnuts)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (about 3 teaspoons)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, more to taste

courtesy of SIMPLY RECIPES


1. Pulse basil and pine nuts in a food processor: Place basil leaves and pine nuts into the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times.

2. Add the garlic and cheese: Add garlic and Parmesan or Romano cheese and pulse several times more. Scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.

3. Stream in the olive oil: While the food processor is running, slowly add olive oil in a steady small stream. Adding the olive oil slowly, while the processor is running, will help it emulsify and help keep the olive oil from separating. Occasionally stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor.

4. Stir in salt and freshly ground black pepper, add more to taste.

Toss with pasta for a quick sauce, dollop over baked potatoes, or spread onto crackers or toasted slices of bread.


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