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Fresh Basil Pesto

Course Main Course, Side Dish


  • 3/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 cups stemmed fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 1/2 cups olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 medium garlic cloves


  1. Spread the pine nuts on a baking sheet and carefully toast them in a 350 degree F oven until golden brown. Watch closely to guard against burning. Cool completely.

  2. After pine nuts have cooled, put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until sauce is coarsely chopped. Scrape down work bowl then process until smooth or to desired consistency. If the pesto seems thick you can add some water now or when using. Taste and add salt if needed.

  3. Tips:

    For best flavor, toss with freshly cooked pasta right after draining.

    Heating basil can cause bitterness.

    Sun-dried tomatoes are a wonderful addition to any pesto dish.

  4. Variations:

    Low-fat version: Substitute 1/2 chicken broth, 1/2 cup lemon juice, and 1/2 cup olive oil for the full 1 1/2 cups of olive oil.

    Adding parsley: Adding 1/2 to 1 cup of fresh, flat-leaf parsley adds even more "fresh" flavor and green color.

    Other nuts: Almonds and pistachios make excellent substitutions to the pine nuts. Roast and cool as directed for pine nuts.