Pesto - Basil, Pine Nut

A versatile bright green, zesty sauce that works well in sandwiches, with seafood or chicken, and mozzarella cheese. Use in Shrimp or Scallops with Pasta and Pesto; Tortellini, Sun Dried Tomato and Pesto Salad; Tortellini, Tomato, Spinach Soup with Rosemary; Boneless Chicken, Sun Dried Tomato and Pesto Sandwich; Tomato, Mozzarella and Pesto Sandwich.
Total Time30 mins
Course: <= 30 Min to Table, Prepare Ahead - Serve Later, Sauces, Salad Dressings, Gravies
Keyword: <= 30 Min Prep, Can be made ahead, Freezes Well
Author: Catherine Christiano


  • 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves packed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  • Fill a 3 quart pot about 1/3 with water and bring to a boil. So that the pesto retains a bright green color, blanch the basil leaves by adding all at once to the boiling water. After about 20 seconds, when the leaves turn bright green, immediately drain in a colander and rinse with cool water. Use paper towels to squeeze out excess moisture.
  • In a blender or food processor add the blanched basil and the remaining ingredients, except the cheese. Puree, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary, until the mixture becomes a uniform paste. 
  • If planning to freeze any of the pesto. Stop here. Add the cheese when defrosted later.
  • If not freezing, add the cheese and process until uniformly blended.


This recipe can easily be scaled up multiple times, especially at the end of the summer when there is an abundance of basil. Extra pesto stores easily in the freezer in small containers or zip-lock bags. Freezing in ice cube trays is another option. Approximately 7 tablespoons of pesto is needed to make about 3/4 cup of pesto later when 1/3 cup of grated Parmesan cheese is added. 3/4 cup of pesto is what is needed for the Shrimp or Scallops Pasta and Pesto recipe.