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Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe

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.

Basil Pesto Sauce

Basil Pesto Sauce Recipe
  • 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
  1. In a food processor (or hand held blender), process the garlic, pine nuts and salt until finely ground. About 15 seconds.
  2. Add the basil leaves to the bowl and process in spurts until no whole leaves remain.
  3. 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.
  4. Add the cheese and pulse until just incorporated.
  5. 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.

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