Processing basil for pesto

Basil Pesto – Recipe

Basil pesto is the defining dish for summer in our house. It’s great to have on hand, ready-made in the fridge, to go on sandwiches, veggies, meat, and yes: pasta.

Basil Pesto

Homemade pesto can be used in so many ways, that it’s good to have around, waiting to be added to chicken or toast or even a salad dressing. So make sure to make a large batch! Pesto freezes well, so it’s a good way to preserve your bumper crop of basil. I freeze it in ice cube trays, so it’s pre-measured for recipes.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 8


  • 6 grams garlic ~3 large cloves don't peel it yet!
  • 30 grams pecans 1/4 cup
  • 85 grams basil 2 cups, packed
  • 6 grams parsley 2 T, minced
  • extra-virgin olive oil
  • parmesan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • more salt to taste


  • Toast the unpeeled garlic cloves in a small skillet over medium heat until softened and spotty brown, about 8 minutes. Shake the pan a few times during the cooking, so they are evenly toasted. Put aside to cool.
  • Toast the pecans in the now empty skillet, over medium heat, until lightly toasted and fragrant. About 4-5 minutes. Put aside to cool.
  • After rinsing and drying the fresh basil & parsley, bruise the leaves in a bag with a rolling pin or a meat pounder.
  • Using a food processor, puree the garlic, nuts, herbs, oil, 1/2 t salt, and chunks of the cheese (if you didn't grate it) until smooth. About 1 minute. Scrape down work bowl as needed.
  • Transfer the pesto into a small bowl to add the cheese if you grated it. This is also the time to add the salt & pepper to taste.


The optional addition of parsley prevents the pesto from turning brown too quickly. Using pecans instead of the usual pine nuts adds a touch of sweetness to balance the saltiness. Feel free to use Parmesan rather than Pecorino Romano, if that's what you have on hand. the Pecorino has just a little sharper flavor.

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