The Basic Pesto Recipe

The Basic Pesto Recipe


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Toss fresh pesto with hot pasta, rice, or steamed vegetables. Spread on toasted French Bread, use a dip for bread sticks, or spread on pizza crust in place of tomato sauce.

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  • 2 C. fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 C. pine nuts, walnuts or pecans
  • 3 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 C. good quality olive oil
  • 1/2 C. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice (optional)
  • 1/2-1 C. fresh parsley (optional)
  • Freshly ground pepper (optional)

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In a food processor, or blender, combine all the ingredients except the cheese. Process the mixture in short bursts until it is smooth. It should not be soupy. If it is too oily, you can add more basil. Scrape down the sides as you work. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in parmesan cheese. Place in a covered container and chill. It will last up to a week in the refrigerator.

Tip: Pesto freezes well in ice cube trays. Store the frozen cubes in a plastic freezer bag to use in the off season. Add a cube to soups, stews or tomato based sauces.

Variations: This is so varied! Some people insist on pine nuts, others hate them. I always go with the concept of using what you have on hand and what you can afford at the time. Substitute walnuts or pecans if you wish! You can also use Pecorino or Romano cheese for a change. Salt and pepper should be used to taste. If you are on a low salt diet then leave it out. If you love garlic then try adding more, less if it's too much for your taste. You can also toast the nuts in the oven, or in a skillet before using.

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