Pesto is a timeless and delicious sauce made from crushed pine nuts, fresh basil leaves, garlic, and parmesan cheese, blended with olive oil. Try this amazing fresh pesto in my Creamy Tomato Chicken with Pesto!

Bowl of Pesto

Pesto

Most of us know that pesto is a cheesy green sauce that is most commonly added to pasta. The word pesto translates to ‘pound or crush’. If you think about that, it makes total sense since the sauce can be made with a mortar and pestle to blend all of the ingredients together. However, I did use a food processor in this recipe. And, I will give you a few more ways to enjoy this sauce later.

Raw Ingredients for Pesto

Ingredients

Pine Nuts: Pine nuts are buttery nuts that come from pine cones that grow on certain pine trees. The nuts crush to a creamy-like texture, perfect for this sauce. After making this recipe, roast some of the nuts to add to a salad.

Basil: Rinse the leaves and dry them immediately after rinsing before using. Keep the basil leaves whole, with stems removed, when adding them to the food processor.

Cheese: For best results, grate a block of parmesan cheese to use in the sauce.

Olive Oil: You could use either regular olive oil or extra virgin olive oil, which is a key ingredient in pesto.

Raw Ingredients for Pesto in a Food Processor and Then After Being Processed

How to Store Pesto

Once you get the pesto made (this will make about a cup) you can store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It is best used within 2-3 days of making it. After a few days, the sauce can become bitter tasting. You can also freeze pesto for up to 6 months.

Spoonful of Pesto from a Jar

Can I Make Pesto Without a Food Processor?

Yes! In fact, to make it more authentic, use a mortar and pestle to blend all of the ingredients together. That is the traditional way that pesto was made. Or, you could even get away with using a blender.

How to Use Pesto

We all know that pesto is a popular sauce for all kinds of pasta. But, you can use it on other foods, too! Try adding some to a sandwich like my Easy Caprese Sandwich, on top of a bowl of minestrone soup, pizza, mixed into scrambled eggs, and even as a dip for vegetables!

Bowl of Pesto.

Pesto

Prep Time 10 mins
Total Time 10 mins
Pesto is a timeless and delicious sauce made from crushed pine nuts, fresh basil leaves, garlic, and parmesan cheese, blended with olive oil.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup (34 g) pine nuts
  • 2 cups (48 g) fresh basil leaves, stems removed
  • ½ cup (50 g) parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • cup (71 g) olive oil

Instructions

  • To the bowl of a food processor add pine nuts, basil leaves, parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, and salt.
  • Pulse until finely minced, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  • Turn the food processor to the lowest setting and slowly drizzle in a small continuous stream of olive oil. Continue mixing until the ingredients are fully incorporated. (A few small pieces of basil are okay.)
  • Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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