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Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

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Basil pesto sauce known as Pesto Genovese is Italian aromatic sauce popular throughout the world made with fresh basil leaves. This sauce originates from the city of Genova, the capital city of Liguria region in the north of Italy.

The name pesto comes from the Italian world "pestare" meaning "to crush" which shows the best way of preparing this sauce - using a wooden pestle and marble mortar. 

More about basil pesto sauce

Homemade basil pesto sauce is the best and you will need fresh basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, hard cheeses such as Parmigiano-Reggiano and pecorino and extra virgin olive oil. 

Basil pesto is usually served with good pasta, first of all the famous "trofie" but with other kind of pasta. It also goes well with homemade gnocchi, lasagna, variety of soups, on pizza or even as a simple spread on a slice of bread.

Basil pesto toss with pasta, dollop over baked potatoes or spread onto crunchy crackers or toasted slices of bread. Use pesto for making simple snack like crispy pesto twists.

Useful tips for making homemade basil pesto sauce

Here are our simple tips you should follow for the perfect homemade basil pesto sauce:

  • If you don't have pine nuts on hand, you can easily substitute them with a handful of almonds or walnuts.
  • If not using the basil pesto immediately, place it in the jar and let it sit until the olive oil makes its way to the top to make a film over the pest. It will keep in the fridge well for about 3 days. 

  • If you want to freeze the pesto, skip the cheese. Line an ice cube tray with cling film and fill each pocket with the pesto. Freeze and then remove from the ice tray and store in a freezer bag. When you want to use, defrost and add cheese.

Looking for more delicious Italian recipes to try? Take a look at these:

Homemade Basil Pesto Sauce

SERVES: 2 servings
COOKS IN: 30 minutes


  • 75g fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 35g Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 10g pecorino
  • 80ml extra virgin olive oil


  1. Lightly toast the pine nuts on a frying pan and set aside to cool.

  2. Preparation of basil pesto starts with crushing the garlic with a few grains of salt in the mortar until it is softened. 

  3. Begin to add basil leaves to mortar using a circular motion slowly crush the basil by moving the pestle around the edges of the mortar.

  4. When you notice a bright green liquid being drawn from the leaves, it is time to add the pine nuts and continue making circular motions until you get creamy texture. 

  5. Now add grated cheeses and slowly add the olive oil. The sauce should be served immediately to avoid oxidation.

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