Dips and pestos

How To Make Basil Pesto

A classic and basic recipe for how to make basil pesto (A.K.A the best sauce in the world). Made with only five ingredients this intense, flavour packed basil pesto is perfect for dressing pasta, salads, on sandwiches, pizza and so much more!

Recipe for how to make basil pesto, pesto in a bowl with basil and pine nuts

This has to be my favourite “sauce” ever, I mean whoever discovered that fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, pecorino (or parmesan), and olive oil all mashed together makes the most incredible tasting green gold that makes anything and everything taste good (seriously) THANK YOU!

Pesto Alla Genovese – Where it Comes From

Basil pesto originates from Genoa, Liguria and is traditionally made in a mortar and pestle. The authentic recipe uses pine nuts although if you don’t have them cashews, pistachios, almonds and walnuts all make great substitutes it’s also delicious with a little chilli kick.

I had it this way once in a small family restaurant in Siena and it inspired me to create this gnocchi with walnut and chilli pesto recipe check out the recipe if you fancy adding a little spice to your pesto.

How to make basil pesto – step by step

Ingredients you’ll need;

  • Basil
  • Pine nuts
  • Garlic
  • Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
  • Olive oil

Add all the ingredients to a bowl and blitz everything together using a hand-held (immersion) blender to create a smooth sauce (add more olive oil if necessary).

then….

Step by step photos on how to make basil pesto

nothing. You’re done!

Super easy right? Boil some pasta and toss the pesto through it, dress spinach for a side or salad or spread it on sandwiches. Also be sure to check out my sun-dried tomato pesto recipe it’s just as easy and can be used in so many ways.

Top Tips for Making the Best Basil Pesto

  • Make sure to use fresh Italian basil for best results and don’t use any with black spots or that has wilted
  • Use good quality Italian olive oil
  • If you don’t have pine nuts you can replace them with cashew or walnuts
  • Traditionally a mix of pecorino and parmigiano reggiano is used but you can use one or the other to keep the cost down
  • You can keep pesto in the fridge for 1 day it may oxidise and turn brown so give it a stir to refresh it

More ways to use pesto;

How to make basil pesto close up shot in a bowl

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5 from 3 votes

How To Make Basil Pesto

A classic and basic recipe for how to make basil pesto (A.K.A the best sauce in the world). Made with only five ingredients this intense, flavour packed basil pesto is perfect for dressing pasta, salads, on sandwiches, pizza and so much more!
Course sauces and dressings
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Basil Pesto, Homemade Pesto, Italian Pesto Recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 149kcal
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (30g) basil
  • 1/8 cup (15g) pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 tbsp (45ml) olive oil
  • 1/4 cup (25g) pecorino or parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  • Put all ingredients in a bowl apart from the salt and pepper and blitz into a smooth sauce using a hand-held blender (or use a food processor) then season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if necessary.

Notes

Please note this recipe was tested and developed using metric measurements all imperial measurements are approximate.
  • Make sure to use fresh Italian basil for best results and don't use any with black spots or that has wilted
  • Use good quality Italian olive oil
  • If you don't have pine nuts you can replace them with cashew or walnuts
  • Traditionally a mix of pecorino and parmigiano reggiano is used but you can use one or the other to keep the cost down
  • You can keep pesto in the fridge for 1 day it may oxidise and turn brown so give it a stir to refresh it

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
How To Make Basil Pesto
Amount Per Serving
Calories 149 Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 15g 23%
Saturated Fat 2g 10%
Cholesterol 6mg 2%
Sodium 75mg 3%
Potassium 60mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 1g 0%
Protein 2g 4%
Vitamin A 13.2%
Vitamin C 2.9%
Calcium 8.8%
Iron 4%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Helpful Info For All Recipes 
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan oven
  • Read more about how the nutritional information is calculated here
Did you try this recipe?Mention @insidetherustickitchen or tag #insidetherustickitchen! We'd love you see what you're getting up to in the kitchen!
An easy authentic pesto recipe made with basil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic and oil. Made with simple ingredients this basil pesto recipe is incredibly delicious and easy to make (less than 5 minutes) all you need is a blender! Pesto is great on pasta, salads, sandwiches, pizza and much more. More authentic Italian recipes at Inside The Rustic Kitchen

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6 Comments

  • Reply
    Beth
    October 9, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    i am a huge pesto fan lately! I’ve never really eaten it much but I’ve made 3 or 4 pestos lately. I have to say I like to add a little kick from some crushed red pepper on top of the pasta! Looking forward to your upcoming pizza!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    October 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm

    Your pesto looks lovely. It’s such a fab colour and when it’s so easy to make it’s so much better to make your own.

  • Reply
    Angela @ Allergy Free Angela
    October 7, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    I have never made pesto, but this looks and sounds so delicious! You’re photography is beautiful! 🙂

  • Reply
    Nadja | Nashi Food
    October 7, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    I never thought of using a hand-held blender. That is a great idea, and I agree that making your own at home if 10x better than store bought.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    October 5, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you for this! I’ve been using pesto a ton lately (sooo delicious!) but it’s so expensive at the store. Looking forward to making it on my own instead. How long does it keep in the fridge? 🙂

    • Reply
      Inside the rustic kitchen
      October 5, 2017 at 6:34 pm

      No problem Michelle, I love making it at home it’s 10x better than shop bought. Basil oxidises very quickly and turns brown, you’ll notice this happening to pesto too after a couple of hours but it’s totally fine to use. I would keep it in the fridge for 2 days, 3 max. If you don’t plan to use it straight away then you can add a thin layer of olive oil on top and you should get an extra couple of days on top of that or you could freeze it.

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