Basil Pesto

This traditional basil pesto from Italy’s Cinque Terre region can be used to make a variety of dishes — from pesto pasta to pesto pizza. We especially love it on Roasted Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwiches!

To make basil pesto, you’ll need some pine nuts. And yes — pine nuts are actually harvested from pine cones!

In Italy, the stone pine is preferred for its large seeds. Here in the U.S., pinyon pine nuts were a favorite food of Native Americans. Pine nuts are harvested under each scale of the pine cone. This takes a lot of time, so you’ll probably want to get some from your local market.

Homemade Pesto Ingredients

  • Pine nuts
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • Garlic
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Coarse sea salt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh cracked pepper and more sea salt to taste

How to Make Basil Pesto

  • Before beginning the pesto, toast 1/2 to 1 cup pine nuts on a hot pan over high heat. Don’t walk away from this, as they cook quickly. Shake pan continuously until they turn golden brown. Remove from heat.
  • In a food processor, pulse basil, garlic and toasted pine nuts for about a minute, scraping down with a rubber spatula. Add the grated parmesan cheese and sea salt. Slowly blend in the olive oil, a little at a time. Season with fresh cracked pepper and additional salt if desired.
  • Store in the refrigerator until ready to use, or make pesto pasta.
  • To make pesto pasta, mix 2 cups cooked penne pasta with 1/2 cup fresh pesto. Add fresh diced rotisserie chicken for a chicken pesto recipe. Top with additional grated parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and fresh basil leaves if desired.

More Easy Pasta Recipes

Homemade basil pesto recipe

Basil Pesto

Recipe by Jason Hill – CookingSessions.com
Basil pesto was born in Northern Italy, in the sea port region of Genoa. This traditional pesto sauce from the Cinque Terre region can be used to make a variety of dishes — from chicken pesto and sun dried tomato pesto to pesto salad and pesto pizza. 
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • ½-1 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves rinsed
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • ¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 ½ – 2 cups extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh cracked pepper and more sea salt to taste

Instructions
 

  • Before beginning the pesto, toast 1/2 to 1 cup pine nuts on a hot pan over high heat. Don’t walk away from this, as they cook quickly. Shake pan continuously until they turn golden brown. Remove from heat.
  • In a food processor, pulse basil, garlic and toasted pine nuts for about a minute, scraping down with a rubber spatula. Add the grated parmesan cheese and sea salt. Slowly blend in the olive oil, a little at a time. Season with fresh cracked pepper and additional salt if desired.
  • Store in the refrigerator until ready to use, or make pesto pasta.

Make Your Pasta

  • To make pesto pasta, mix 2 cups cooked penne pasta with 1/2 cup fresh pesto. Add fresh diced rotisserie chicken for a chicken pesto recipe. Top with additional grated parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and fresh basil leaves if desired.
Let’s get cooking!Join me @cheftips on Facebook & Instagram

Watch My Video

Keyword basil, Italian, Italian recipes, noodles, pasta, pesto, pine nuts
Check out my Cooking Videos!Subscribe to my Chef Tips channel on YouTube!

AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.

Leave a Reply