This classic pesto recipe adds so much flavor to so many dishes! Made of fresh basil, garlic, nuts, olive oil, and cheese, this pesto recipe comes together in minutes!
My basil has been abundant this summer. I’ve used it so much that I always think I’m going to use it all and then, by the miracle that is a basil plant, it grows more abundantly. Hey, I’m certainly not complaining. I’m absolutely grateful!
We’ve used it in just about everything possible this year from our caprese grilled chicken to pasta. But I do have to tell you, I’ve had more than my fair share of caprese salad this summer. Oh my goodness, have I ever!
But, I’m also making a dent in replacing the pesto I saved from last summer that I used throughout the winter. My goal is to put back twice as much as I did last year, although I have no measurements from what I did last year. So, I’ll have to guesstimate and then probably do a bit more.
To make this classic pesto recipe, I started with fresh basil that I’d just picked and washed from the garden. I add it, garlic, nuts and salt to either my food processor or my high speed blender – either works fine. Now, I will say that classic pesto uses pine nuts in the recipe. However, if you have a hard time finding pine nuts, you can easily substitute with another nut such as walnuts or, I also like to use shelled sunflower seeds. Truth be known, sunflower seeds actually are one of my favorites and I switch back and forth using it all the time. They are also usually less expensive than pine nuts which makes it all the better.
Then, I slowly begin to pour in the olive oil through the top chute of my blender or food processor while the machine is turned on about low to medium speed. I normally stop to scrape down the sides of the bowl or blender container a few times while I’m making my pesto to make sure there aren’t any unprocessed lumps of garlic or anything else in my finished pesto.
Once my pesto has reached a consistency throughout, you can immediately pour it into ice cube trays or mini muffin tins and freeze for later use or refrigerate to use soon. If I am going to use immediately, I go ahead and add my Parmesan cheese. If I’m freezing or refrigerating, I like to add the cheese right before I plan to serve it.
Here’s my Classic Pesto Recipe. I hope you make it soon!
- 4 cups basil
- 2-3 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup pine nuts
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ - 1 cup olive oil
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Add basil, garlic, pine nuts, and salt to the bowl of a food processor or high power blender.
- Turn food processor on and begin slowly pouring olive oil through the chute of the machine, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Store in the refrigerator for a few days or freeze in ice cube trays and then store in zip top bags for a few months.
- Add Parmesan cheese to pesto when ready to use.
From the Add a Pinch recipe archives. Originally published 2012.