Recipe: Pesto

Kristina asked:

Do you have a knock-your-socks-off basil pesto recipe?  I can make a pretty good batch, but I’m always open for improvement.  Also, is there a way to cut down on the oil?  Or should I not worry about it too much since it’s olive oil?

Okay, I confess: I am the world’s laziest pesto maker. I love the flavors of basil, garlic, and lemon so much that it doesn’t really matter to me if it’s the best recipe ever. I love it all! Since time is usually of the essence in my kitchen, I do what’s quickest and easiest:

I just toss whatever basil I’m lucky enough to have into my food processor (a huge no-no for the purists), add one or two garlic cloves, the juice of half a lemon (maybe a whole lemon, if it’s a lot of basil), a glug or two of olive oil, and salt/pepper to taste.

I never ever put cheese in my pesto and recently began using pepitas instead of pine nuts or walnuts!

Often, I’ll add some spinach to make the batch last longer; you can’t taste it and it adds extra nutritional punch.

You definitely could play around with reducing the oil content of your favorite recipe. I wouldn’t substitute anything (water, for instance) as you’ll run the risk of ruining the whole batch. If you are worried about fat content, definitely try removing the parmesan first; I bet you won’t really miss it!

As for a new pesto experience, Heidi, from, is a food blogger I trust; she cooks like I would if I had the time! Her tutorial on How to Make Pesto Like an Italian Grandmother looks excellent. (Incidentally, I have eaten pesto in its birthplace - near Genoa, Italy - and it is spectacular. :)



Hey Laura, I think... Recipe: Pesto

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