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Basil Pesto


2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
1⁄2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts or toasted pumpkin seeds
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 teaspoons salt
1⁄2 cup Parmesan Reggiano cheese, freshly grated
3 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature (optional)


  1. Add the basil, olive oil, pine nuts or pumpkin seeds, minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt in the processor bowl, and process to a uniform, creamy consistency.
  2. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the cheese with a rubber spatula.
  3. Mix in the softened butter, distributing it uniformly into the sauce. Taste and mix in more salt if desired.

*Freezing pesto: Make pesto through to the end of Step 1, cover with a thin layer of olive oil and freeze it without cheese and butter in it. Add the cheese and butter when it is thawed, just before serving.