How to Make Pesto

How to Make Pesto

Full recipe for basil pesto

A few years ago I regularly had to travel to Italy for work. I bought a lot of pesto in shops before that as I really like the flavour, and pasta with pesto is still one of my favourite dishes.

So, I used the opportunity and asked one of my Italian colleagues for some recommendations on what is the best and most typical pesto in Italy. I just got a short answer: I don’t know, we never buy pesto in a shop, we make it at home.

To be honest, I found this answer quite disappointing at the time. I didn’t know how to do it at home, and I didn’t want to know, as I was busy enough to not prepare anything more at home. Only later I realised what shop-bought pesto actually contains. And how much better and tastier homemade pesto is – and it actually is really easy.

Let’s have a look at some shop-bought products and what the manufacturers use as ingredients:

Cheap shop bought Pesto ingredient list

This is one of the cheaper products that can be found in stores in Ireland. It actually contains 1% (!) pine nuts, more sugar than pecorino, and god knows why a pesto needs acidity regulators, vegetable fibre potato starch or antioxidants.

Premium shop bought Pesto ingredient list

This is a more premium product, currently sold for €2.39 for 190g. It’s a little better than the one above, but still, in a basic Basil Pesto things like Sugar, Bamboo Fibre, Acidity Regulators or Antioxidants should not be needed.

The Happy Pear Pesto ingredient list

This is the most expensive product that I could find. It’s currently sold for €4.99 for 180g, so it is really expensive. This product contains Nutritional Yeast, added flavours and flavour enhancers (yeast extract). It's just not good enough for what they’re charging

Shopping List for your homemade basil pesto

  • Basil, 1 bunch
  • Pine nuts, 50g
  • Parmigiano (Parmesan cheese): 60g
  • Garlic, 3 cloves
  • Olive oil

Needed equipment

  • Food processor

How to do Basil Pesto

1) Cut basil and cheese. Roast pine nuts.

Cut basil and cheese into pieces small enough to fit into the food processor.

Roast the pine nuts in a pan just long enough that they get a little bit of colour.

2) Put all ingredients into a food processor.

Put all ingredients into a food processor

3) Process for at least 30 seconds

Process for at least 30 seconds

4) Fill into a beautiful jar

Fill into a beautiful jar

See the full video below or on YouTube:
Full video on YouTube:–wQVA

    See the full video for Basil Pesto on YouTube:

    Full recipe for Basil Pesto