Basil pesto sauce is as indispensable to pasta lovers as chili is to chili lovers. Tossed with freshly cooked pasta it makes a fabulous meal. It also compliments a wide variety of other foods making it a must have in any cook’s pantry.
This recipe by Chef Jerry Traunfeld, author of The Herb Farm Cookbook, is the best blender-made basil pesto sauce recipe I’ve tried to date. Follow the directions below to the letter; and you’ll also end up with a perfectly balanced fragrant and sultry pesto sauce.
Making it by hand with a mortar and pestle surely gives the better pesto sauce. But with a blender you can make a perfectly good batch of pesto in just a few minutes. And with very little effort.
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled
- 3 tablespoons raw pine nuts
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups sweet basil leaves, gently packed
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- In a food processor (or hand held blender), process the garlic, pine nuts and salt until finely ground. About 15 seconds.
- Add the basil leaves to the bowl and process in spurts until no whole leaves remain.
- With the machine running, pour the oil through the feed tube in a steady stream. Stop and scrape down the sides, then process for several more seconds. The mixture should be ground to a paste-like consistency but a little bit of the leaves’ texture should remain. If necessary, quickly pulse the mixture again.
- Add the cheese and pulse until just incorporated.
- Serve immediately.
Follow Jerry Traunfeld (@poppyseatle) on Twitter and get a copy of his The Herb Farm Cookbook.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pesto Sauce
What is Pesto Sauce?
Pesto is a classic cold Italian basil sauce from Genoa. It’s a bright green, aromatic and full-flavoured sauce with a thick pouring consistency. The name ‘pesto’ comes from the original method of preparing the basil by pounding it with a pestle in a mortar.
What is in Pesto Sauce?
The classic Italian pesto is simply fresh basil leaves pounded with a bit of salt, a handful of pine nuts, some grated Parmesan cheese, and some richly flavoured olive oil.
Can I Freeze Pesto Sauce?
Though nothing compares to a batch of freshly made pesto it does have excellent keeping qualities. You can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and for longer storage you can freeze it for up to 6 months.