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Authentic Italian Pesto Recipe

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Authentic Italian Basil Pesto recipe is made with basil, garlic, cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil. This will be your favorite pesto recipe and you can make it in less than 10 minutes!

homemade basil pesto recipe with pine nuts and cheese

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Y’all, I love me some pesto. Ever since my husband was stationed in northern Italy when we were first married I have been making this authentic Italian pesto recipe given to me by a friend from the area.

Luckily I passed down the pesto-loving gene to my three boys. Since they were babies they have gobbled up anything with pesto-veggies, pasta, bread. If I add pesto, they’ll love it. If you haven’t made this pesto yet, get ready for a treat!

Ingredients

  • fresh basil leaves
  • freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • freshly grated Romano cheese
  • garlic
  • pine nuts
  • olive oil

Step by step

It couldn’t be easier to make your own homemade pesto. All you will need is a food processor and a few minutes!

  1. Remove the stems from your fresh pesto and add it to the food processor along with garlic, cheeses, pine nuts, and olive oil. T
  2. Pulse until you get the desired consistency. I find that after pulsing a few times, about 30 seconds of continuous processing on high gives me the perfect basil pesto!

Tips for best results

  • Fresh is best for this recipe, I prefer fresh basil, freshly grated cheeses, and fresh garlic. Pregrated cheeses have a powder coating and should be avoided, however jarred garlic can be used if needed.
  • Add additional olive oil if necessary to adjust to your desired consistency.
  • If you can’t find pine nuts, walnuts are an easy substitution in a pinch.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper if desired.

Serving suggestions

Pesto has such a great flavor you can add it to almost anything!

Pesto is traditionally served tossed with hot pasta, but you can serve it with gnocchi, use it in lasagna, spread it on toast, make pesto potato salad, toss with roasted vegetables, the possibilities are endless!

FAQs

Do you need to wash basil leaves before making pesto?

Yes, it is always important to give basil leaves a quick rinse to make sure there are no dirt or bugs on the leaves. Be sure to the pat the basil dry after rinsing.

Can I make pesto without pine nuts?

While the traditional pesto recipe uses pine nuts you can feel free to omit them or substitute another nut like walnuts, pistachios, or almonds.

Can you make pesto ahead of time?

This recipe is best made fresh but you can make it up to 3 days ahead and store in the refrigerator or freeze until ready to use. (See notes below.)

Can you use basil stems in pesto?

You can use basil stems and even the flowers in pesto. For very thick stems you may want to chop or remove them as they might affect the final texture.

Storage

Store in an airtight container for up to three days. For longer storage freezing is recommended.

Pesto will brown if exposed to air so wrap tightly with plastic touching the top surface to avoid discoloration or top with a thin layer of olive oil before covering.

Pesto freezes well. I find it easiest to freeze it flat in a plastic freezer bag. You can even freeze it in an ice cube tray and then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for single serving sized portions!

You might also enjoy my Italian-inspired 15 minute Easy Pasta Carbonara, and Mushroom Risotto Recipes as well.

If you’ve tried this recipe please comment and rate it below, I love hearing from you!

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spoon full of basil pesto

Authentic Italian Pesto Recipe


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5 from 1 review

Description

Authentic Italian Homemade Basil Pesto recipe made with basil, garlic, cheese, pine nuts, and olive oil. This will be your favorite pesto recipe once you try it, no more store bought pesto! Plus you can make it in less than 10 minutes!


Ingredients

Units Scale
  • 3040 fresh basil leaves
  • 2/3 cup freshly shredded Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until desired consistency.

Notes

Store in an airtight container for up to three days. For longer storage freezing is recommended.

Pesto will brown if exposed to air so wrap tightly with plastic touching the top surface to avoid discoloration or top with a thin layer of olive oil before covering.

Pesto freezes well. I find it easiest to freeze it flat in a plastic freezer bag. You can even freeze it in an ice cube tray and then transfer the cubes to a freezer bag for single serving sized portions!

  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Category: sauce
  • Method: food processor
  • Cuisine: italian

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 tablespoons
  • Calories: 258
  • Sugar: 0.1 g
  • Sodium: 410.9 mg
  • Fat: 28 g
  • Carbohydrates: 1.2 g
  • Protein: 3.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 6.6 mg

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12 Comments

  1. This recipe looks delicious and easy! I can’t wait to try it. Just a quick question regarding the pine nuts: do you have to heat them up/ “cook” them first? Or just blend them in raw?

  2. Oh yum, that looks almost exactly like the recipe we use for pesto (except we only use parmesan, no romano). I bet it’s fabulous! Thanks for sharing at The Fun In Functional!

  3. SO easy. Who knew? Perfect for a night when I need a quick dinner. I’m here from the hop, glad I found you. Thanks for sharing the ease of pesto.

  4. Um, I think I have to make this today!!! Thank you, you saved dinner tonight and my family gets to have something good!

  5. Yum! I was just looking at my basil plants and wanting to make pesto yesterday! Now I have an “authentic” recipe. Just got to get some pine nuts!

  6. Yum! And pesto is one of the things my husband will actually eat! I find pine nuts here to be crazy expensive. What are they like there? Might have to add that to my cross-border shopping list.

    1. Try pumpkin seeds, no shell on. Ive done this on several recipe that called for pine, it works great

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