Pesto Presto! This savory herb sauce is super easy to whip up. And classic pesto isn’t just for pasta, so blend and enjoy!

Summer hits and all I want to do is eat from the garden. I don’t have a garden though. HA! However, I do have a New York City terrace and have become the best potted gardener ever.

I usually have one big pot of basil growing, along with my tomatoes and other herbs. Last year I tried peas and beans, but they didn’t make it to the kitchen because I ate them as I picked them! The basil grows really well so about every month I get enough to make my classic pesto.

Classic Pesto
A block of Parmesan lives on the back of my cheese shelf, so I already have that. I keep my pine nuts in the freezer so they don’t go rancid. But if I don’t have pine nuts on hand I use almonds or walnuts! The nuts add a buttery, rich texture to pesto, so mixing it up is just fine.

It blends up in minutes and you can keep it in the fridge for several weeks. Make a double batch if you have the basil, because it will freeze for up to a month.

TIP: To intensify the green color of your pesto, blanch the basil for five seconds in boiling water; then shock them in ice water and squeeze dry; continue with the recipe.

Although is at it’s best on a good bowl of pasta, I use this classic pesto on grilled shrimp or lamb chops, even steak and chicken. I mix it into tomato soup and spread it on bread when I make sandwiches. It’s really the spread and condiment of the summer. Get creative and let me know how you use it in your meals!

Classic Pesto
Work Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
To intensify the green color of your pesto, blanch herbs for five seconds in boiling water, then shock them in ice water and squeeze dry; continue with the recipe.
Yield: 2 cups
  • 4 cups packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • ¾ cup 3½ oz pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Combine all ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the feed tube. Use immediately or freeze for up to a month.





Recipe by Tara Bench
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal, August 2010
Photo Credit Antonis Achilleos
Food Stylist Cyd Raftus McDowell
Prop Stylist Paige Hicks

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