Basil Pesto - A Taste of Italian Summer

Classic Basil Pesto - little tastes better and little else is so easy to make.  Get the children to whizz it up.  It tastes like a warm summer day in Positano and smells like heaven.

I was taught this by an Italian grandma.  She never used garlic, but some people like it.  If you do, use only the merest whisper of it or you will kill the perfume of the basil and make the pesto bitter.    

This Italian nonna prepared her pesto in a mortar and pestle; it was an act of love.  Most of us don't have the time for that so use a food processor.

I like to make this in my Cornflower blue apron as the colours go fabulously well!


Makes a satisfying bowl which will keep for 3-4 days in fridge.  Put a thin layer of oil on top to help preserve the glorious colour and store in a sealed container.

  • 1 lg bunch fresh basil
  • 75g pine nuts (lightly toasted if you have time)
  • 115g grated parmesan
  • 125 ml of good quality olive oil
  • Generous pinch sea salt

Basil pesto


  1. Remove the largest stems from the basil.
  2. Add all ingredients to a food processor and blitz, drizzling in the oil as you go.
  3. Blitz to the consistency you like.  I like it quite rough; others prefer a smooth paste and may like a little more oil.
  4. Salt is crucial.

Things to do with Pesto

  • Pasta obviously!
  • Spread it on toast for lunch (and maybe dinner!).
  • Quick bruscetta or canapés.
  • Serve with pretty much any grilled meat or fish.
  • Add to bread dough.
  • Take a big bowl of it round to a friend's as a dip.  It's cheap and fast and makes you look like a goddess.
  • Serve on the side of almost anything your children eat.  They will eat faster.
  • Add to soup, especially tomato or minestrone.

I could go on...  Let me know how you eat yours.

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