Basil Pesto

Servings 8


  • 6 tbsp pine nuts
  • 60 g basil leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 12 tbsp good quality extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 tbsp. parmesan cheese grated


  • Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over a medium heat until golden and nutty, tossing occasionally, around 4-5 minutes.
  • Put the toasted pine nuts, basil, garlic and half the parmesan plus 2 tbsp. of the oil in the food processor and pulse to a paste.
  • Scrape the paste into a bowl and slowly trickle the rest of the oil in, stir to combine.
  • Stir in the rest of the parmesan, seating to taste and a little more oil if too thick.
  • Scrape into a Kilner jar or clean jam jar, cover with a layer of oil (so it doesn't discolour) and chill.


  • Pesto freezes very well.  Try putting it in an ice cube tray, freezing and then removing form the tray and popping in a bag.  You can then take out a little at time as you need it.
  • Pesto can be used for so many different things, not just on pasta.  Mix with leftover chicken and use a salad or layer with soft goat's cheese on bruschetta as a delicious canapé or starter.
  • Make different pestos - swap the pine nuts for walnuts or almonds, change the herbs - coriander pesto goes well with beef or parsley pesto with fish.  Tarragon pesto is fabulous with chicken.  Or you can use left over herbs to make a miseducating herb pesto, the possibilities are endless.