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4.8 from 10 votes


Recipe video above. This is how I make basil pesto. Make it smooth for the best flavour when tossed through pasta, or chunkier if you want to use it as a dip. See in post for a list of chunky vs smooth and a list of uses! Also see how to use pesto to make a JUICY Pesto Pasta (hint: it's not just pasta and pesto).
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Condiments, Pasta
Cuisine: American-Italian
Keyword: Pesto recipe, What goes in pesto
Servings: 1 cup
Author: Nagi


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 cups (60g/2oz) fresh basil leaves, packed (Note 1)
  • 1/2 cup (40g) parmesan, store bought shredded OR 3/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil , best quality


  • Preheat small skillet over medium high heat (no oil). Add pine nuts and toast until light brown. Immediately remove and let cool slightly.
  • Place all ingredients except olive oil in a food processor or blender.
  • Blitz until finely chopped.
  • With the motor running, slowly pour the oil in. Blitz until smooth (or to desired consistency), adding a touch of extra oil (or water) if required to help it blitz.
  • Handheld blender: Place all ingredients (including oil) in a bowl. Blitz with hand held blender until smooth.

Storage and Use:

  • Store in a super airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freezer for 3 months. If it's not a super airtight container, smooth the surface and cover with a thin layer of olive oil - basil goes brown when in contact with air.
  • Makes enough for: 300g/10oz dried pasta of choice (can stretch to 350g/12oz). See here for how to make a great simple pesto pasta!


1. Basil - important to use FRESH basil leaves here, not basil that's been in your fridge for a week (goes brown when blitzed!)
2. Variations - Use the same ratios above and switch the basil/pinenuts for any of the following:
  • Rocket/arugula, baby spinach, spinach, silverbeet, kale, parsley
  • Walnuts, cashews (best sub for pine nuts), almonds, hazelnuts. Haven't tried with seeds like sunflower seeds but I see no reason why they wouldn't work (but I wouldn't use with kale)
3. General
  • Makes just short of 1 cup of pesto. Use for 300g/10oz pasta of choice to coat generously (3 large servings, 4 smallish servings), or up to 350g/12oz (4 standard servings).