Fresh Basil Pesto

Fresh Basil Pesto and Linguini

Becky's basil plant
My monster basil plant

Making fresh basil pesto is fast and easy. Toss the ingredients into a food processor or blender, turn it on and drizzle in the olive oil. That’s it! Whether you harvest your own basil or buy it at the grocery store or farmers market, when you make it yourself – fresh – it’s always going to taste so much better than anything you could buy jarred at the grocery store.

In my little herb garden I’ve got a fantastic basil plant. I’ve never seen one so big, but I guess that comes from living in the tropics. I planted it this past May, and here it is January and it’s only just now starting to develop flowers. I’ll keep pinching them off and pruning the plant to see how long it will thrive and produce.

It’s a good idea to wash your basil leaves before starting the sauce. I find that a salad spinner works perfectly for this task because it washes them well with the least amount of bruising and it’s so effective for drying the leaves. And it’s fast!

For the parmesan cheese, use parmesano reggiano if you can, for the most authentic taste. Generally you’ll find it in wedges that you’ll need to shred. A rotary shredder makes that task a breeze.

Serve up your batch of fresh pesto in a variety of ways:

  • Mixed into your favorite pasta
  • Spread onto garlic bread
  • Over chicken (or stuffed into it!) or fish
  • Add some plain yogurt and use it as a dip
  • Spread it onto a piece of toast and top it with a poached egg
  • Use it instead of tomato sauce on a pizza, topped with fresh sliced tomato, mozzarella and shredded chicken

You can keep the pesto refrigerated, but the oil will solidify, so be sure to take it out of the fridge plenty ahead of time to allow the oil to return to its liquid state.

Fresh Basil Pesto

5 from 1 vote
Course Appetizer, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Italian


  • 3 cups fresh basil leaves, packed washed and dried
  • ¾ cup freshly-grated parmesano reggiano cheese
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly-ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup olive oil


  • Wash and dry them. You can make fast work of this by using a salad spinner.
  • Place the basil in a blender or food processor, then add all the ingredients except the olive oil.
    Fresh Basil Pesto ingredients
  • Blend or process for about 30 seconds or until the leaves are fully chopped.
  • While the blender is still running, drizzle in the olive oil slowly.
  • Serve immediately.
Keyword fresh basil pesto, pesto
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Fresh Basil Pesto

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