Pesto Sauce Recipe

As with so many things in my life, my mom gave me my original pesto sauce recipe.  I always loved basil growing up, so one night she surprised me and made pesto sauce.  I instantly fell in love.   Pesto pasta is a classic and it soon became a staple in my dinner life (we are Italian, dinner is very important).  When I went off to college I tried making pesto for myself and failed miserably.  There are so many pesto recipes out there and it’s such a simple sauce, but I still couldn’t get it right.  I would call my mom and tell her how I just couldn’t make pesto to taste like hers – you know, good!  Days later a care package would arrive at my dorm room from my mom filled with salami, prosciutto, cheese, bread and of course, pesto sauce.  I couldn’t boil pasta fast enough.  The smell would linger through the stairwells and hallways of the dorm leading most of the inhabitants to the common area where the kitchen was.  Luckily for all of them I’m the youngest of four, sharing is instilled in the very fiber of my being!

Fast forward to my married days where ‘what’s for dinner’ is the main focus of our every day. There are 365 days in a year and I’m cooking most of them.  Alot of dinners!  I introduced my husband and kids to pasta with pesto a few years back and it passed the ‘you can make it for dinner again’ test.  I’m happy to report that I planted basil plants (may I suggest you do the same) and have perfected the sauce through the years.  I still think my mom makes it better, but the funny thing is she thinks that I make it better. We decided that’s because when the other makes it all we have to do is eat it – a rarity in both our lives!

Pesto – good pesto – is shockingly quick and simple to make.  Cover it with plastic wrap and it’ll last in the refrigerator for days. You can use it on sandwiches, chicken, pizza, whatever you’d like.  Pesto’s not just for pasta anymore.  (Ha) And if you plant some basil, I think you will be happy with the difference in flavor you get from picking it fresh.  Please give it a try and leave me a comment here or on facebook.  I always want to hear what you think. Enjoy!



  • 4-6 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1-2 cloves of fresh garlic
  • ¼ – ½ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sea salt
  • ⅛ cup fresh parmesan, grated
  • pinch of pepper


In a food processor add the garlic, pulse until minced.  Next add the basil, salt, parmesan, pepper and olive oil.  Zoom until all ingredients are minced together.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note:  If you need a pesto pasta recipe – really, this is it.  Just make the pesto, boil the pasta, strain the pasta.  Then in mix the pesto and the pasta in a serving bowl and you are done.


The tools you use in cooking are just as much part of what you do as the ingredients and the recipe.  In some cases they can be critical, but in all cases the right tools will make your job a lot easier.  My pesto sauce recipe relies on simple, fresh ingredients. Pesto is easy – just use a good food processor.  I swear by my Cuisinarts.  (I have 4 of them in different sizes.)  I have tried different ones, but my Cuisinarts are my workhorses.  I linked to the 2 that I use most.

Cuisinart 14 cup Food Processor


Cuisinart 7 cup Food Processor