my favorite basil pesto

This is BY FAR my favorite Basil Pesto recipe.

Truly, it’s hard to go wrong with Ina Garten.  The Barefoot Contessa pretty much rocks my kitchen’s world.

This is such an easy thing to make and packs SO MUCH flavor!  Your kids will love it (mine practically lick the bowl clean).  You can serve it for company and feel like you’ve done something “fancy”.  And it only takes a few minutes to whip up.  If you don’t have an overly abundant basil plant waiting for you to pick the heck out of it, grab a fresh bunch from the farmers market, or Trader Joe’s ($4!)  It’s worth it!

Then grab a bunch of garlic.  I cheat and love to use the frozen cubes from Trader Joe’s.  Each cube is a clove of garlic.  Frankly, this is just easy and quick for me and it still tastes fresh.  But get your garlic anyway that works for you.

Load everything up in your food processor.  (You might also be able to use a blender. I’ve never done this, but it would probably work too…just don’t hate me if it doesn’t work, and well, if your blender brakes…).  Then let your Little help you with the buttons.  Mine get the biggest kick out of pushing that “Pulse” button.  It’s “their job” when the food processor is out.

This particular batch I packed up in Tupperware and took on my road trip to make an easy dinner for friends, so I don’t have a fun dish to show you.  Sorry about that!  But seriously, it tastes yummy over EVERYTHING!

Here’s some ideas….

Mix it in with warm cooked pasta and serve with a little grated Parmesan on top…

I love to make a “Caprese Pasta” dish with it – fusilli, tomatoes (chopped or grape), cubed mozzerella, Parmesan and Pine nuts to garnish….

A friend brought it to me after Piper was born in Chinese food containers with peas and pine nuts, delicious and great packaging!

First time I made this, I toasted little baguette slices, slathered a little pesto on the warm bread, and topped with left over Oven Tri-Tip, and a fresh tomato from the garden….oh HEAVEN HELP ME!  That was good!

Anyway, great pesto, quick and worth making rather than using a store bought pesto.  It has a great salty, nutty flavor… to die for!


Barefoot Contessa’s Basil Pesto


1/4 cup walnuts (definitely don’t leave out!)
1/4 cup pignolis/pine nuts
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt (don’t skimp!)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan (I use this generously, just sayin….)


Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

4 thoughts on “my favorite basil pesto”

  1. This is such a cool recipe. I already have visions of making batches of this around the holidays and packaging it with some fun pasta and bread for gift baskets for friends!! Thanks!!!

  2. Sounds incredible! I will be trying this one. I didn’t know you could get garlic cubes frozen, so awesome! I guess that’s what I get for living in the boonies! I think there is a Trader Joe’s in Boston, about an hour from me. I’ll have to stop in collect all these wonderful products everyone talks about!

    Have a blessed Sunday!

  3. I just made pesto a couple days ago – the recipe i used this time called for walnuts too – i had never done that before, but it added a great flavor to it!

    the thing i love about pesto is that it can be served at room temp, so it is perfect for when company comes over.

    thanks for the recipe – i will try this one too!

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