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Perfect Pesto
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
Pesto is a simple sauce made from fresh basil, pine nuts, garlic, cheese, and olive oil. The method and the ratio of ingredients are what make this the perfect pesto recipe!
  • 3 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
  • 1 Large Garlic Clove, peeled
  • 1 ½ oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese, cubed* (grated will also work, use 6 Tablespoons)
  • 1 Large Bunch Fresh Basil, about 2 packed Cups (2 oz.)
  • 1 Tablespoon Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • ¼ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ¼ Teaspoon Freshly Ground Black Pepper
  • ½ Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  1. Preheat oven to 350º. Spread the pine nuts out onto a small baking sheet and toast in the preheated oven for around 5 minutes, or until lightly golden and toasty. Cool completely.
  2. In a food processor combine the garlic and the cubed cheese and pulse until the mixture is well broken down. Add in the pine nuts and pulse just a few times to chop the pine nuts.
  3. Next, add in the basil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until the basil is broken down, but not finely chopped.
  4. With the food processor running, stream in the olive oil (you may not use it all depending on the texture you like), scraping the mixture halfway through.
Recipe Notes

*I highly recommend using the real-deal Parmigiano-Reggiano (you can tell by the stamp on the rind) for the best flavor. I find cubing it to be easiest as it’s more cost effective to buy it whole vs grated. However, if you can only get grates or don’t have a scale to weigh the cheese, use 6 tablespoons grated.


Pesto freezes beautifully! I love to double the recipe and stock my freezer.


This recipe will make enough for 1 pound of pasta. I love pesto with penne or linguine and to make it extra-delicious, toss your hot pasta with a few handfuls of parm before adding the pesto. I’m telling you, this makes it SO good! Then toss in your pesto with some pasta water for perfect pasta alla pesto.