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Horizontal image of a wooden spoon holding up some fresh herb sauce over a white bowl underneath a red checkered towel.

Classic Italian Pesto

  • Author: Fanny Slater
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1/2 cups (6 1/4-cup servings) 1x


This smooth, classic pesto made with fresh basil, garlic, and toasted pine nuts is a versatile sauce you can enjoy in so many meals.


  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt, plus more to taste
  • 4 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (about 3 ounces)
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed


  1. Place a small, dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add the pine nuts, and stir occasionally until golden brown and toasted, about 3 minutes. Immediately transfer the nuts to the food processor.
  2. Add the garlic and salt to the food processor and pulse until you have a chunky paste. Add the basil and parmesan and pulse until finely minced. 
  3. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the oil until the pesto is smooth and velvety, adding 1-2 tablespoons more as needed if it is too thick. Season to taste with additional salt if necessary.
  4. Use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Sauce
  • Method: Food Processor
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: basil, pesto, pine nuts, Parmigiano Reggiano, cheese