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A Master Pesto Recipe

Using the basic pesto-making technique with a wider variety of herbs and added ingredients is very popular with chefs, home cooks and food bloggers. Especially with those that have a herb garden. It makes perfect sense for processing a bumper crop of say rocket, parsley or marjoram.

Almost any fresh herb, nut, oil or hard cheese can be combined in the same fashion to produce a pesto style sauce. Just remember that the fresh flavour of the herbs is intensified when the leaves are pounded. So be careful with those that become bitter or unpleasantly intense.

Your Aims When Making a Pesto-style Sauce

Your primary aim is to produce a balanced, aromatic, full flavoured pesto-style sauce to compliment a specific dish. Choose your flavour combinations wisely and don’t let the pesto overpower the dish.

Your secondary aim is to produce a pesto with a thick pouring consistency. Bear that in mind when you get to the oil.

master pesto recipe

Master Pesto Recipe
  • 1 part nuts
  • Garlic, if using, to taste
  • Sea salt to taste
  • 4 parts fresh herbs
  • 1 part oil
  • ½ part grated hard cheese
  1. Substitute the parts with any convenient measure. A ¼ cup measure works nicely for developing new recipes.
  2. When adding garlic, always add in the beginning with the nuts and salt.
  3. Follow the directions for making a machine-made version or the hand-made version.
  4. The ratios are not cast in cement as different nuts, herbs and hard cheeses have varying oil and moisture contents. Play around a bit.
Tip: When choosing an oil to use in a pesto recipe I use the same criteria as for choosing an oil to use in a salad dressing. First of all it must compliment the other ingredients. Next is that I can eat the oil by the spoonful. Simply because, like salad dressing, I love eating pesto by the spoonful.

Hungry for more pesto ideas? Feast on these…

Making pesto with a blender.

Making pesto by hand.