This recipe can be doubled very easily. At Spago we use a sweet olive oil, not too sharp and overwhelming, found in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This can be brushed over pizzas and fish, and it turns a simple pasta into something special. In Italy, pesto is generally made with a mortar and pestle, which probably accounts for the name, but it can also be done in a blender, so you will find both methods below.
To Prepare Ahead: Pesto can be prepared and refrigerated or frozen. Bring to room temperature before using.
If you own a mortar and pestle, use it to make this Pesto. You'll definitely notice the difference in flavor when the fresh herbs are stone-ground.
Total Timeunder 15 minutes
Make Ahead RecipeYes
Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, vegan, vegetarian
Five Ingredients or LessYes
- 12 medium fresh basil leaves, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
- 3 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
- Pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
In a mortar and pestle, pound the basil, garlic, nuts, and salt until thoroughly mashed. Add the oil, a few drops at a time, until you have a smooth paste.
Pesto can also be made in a blender. Pour in the oil first, then the garlic, nuts, and finally the basil leaves. Blend on low to a smooth paste. Season with the kosher salt.
2000 Wolfgang Puck