Total Time
Prep 5 mins
Cook 30 mins

There is nothing better than making your own Pesto sauce. Cook time reflects the time it takes to make it by hand, if using a food processor it will only take 10 to 15 minutes.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Holding the basil by it's stalks, gently swish the leaves in a bowl of cold water.
  2. Pick off the leaves from the stalks and dry them n kitchen paper without bruising them.
  3. Now you need to reduce the leaves and salt to a smooth puree-use a pestle and mortar or a food processor for this.
  4. If using a pestle and mortar (wood is best) press and grind the basil against the sides, rather than bashing downwards, and work from the edges inward.
  5. Salt will be your friend at this stage; it's grittiness helps you with the pounding.
  6. Once you have the leaves gently but reasonably mushed, add the oil.
  7. Begin to pour in the oil slowly and stir until you have a smooth creamy texture.
  8. Now work in the garlic, add just enough so that it can be tasted without being over powering.
  9. Tip in the pinenuts and cheese and blend in these.
  10. Keep going until the mixture is smooth and no longer stringy.
  11. Season to taste with salt and pepper to taste, bearing in mind that parmesan is quite salty and that raw garlic already gives a hot sensation in your mouth.
Most Helpful

I did not include the parm and this was still really good.

Karenlynn September 01, 2007

A good, quick recipe. Thanks Marie.

Sherrie-pie August 18, 2006

This was the first recipe I tried making with my mortar and pestle. It was hard work and I'm not sure I succeeded it getting it totally smooth -- more pounding needed -- but it did have a great taste. I made it with Thai basil. I made a quarter-size batch and that was enough to cover pasta generously for two people.

Sackville May 14, 2004