Italian Basil Pesto

Italian Basil Pesto

  • Servings: 2 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Miz for Italiani basil pesto-034

Make this pesto recipe when basil is being harvested in abundance. Enjoy some right away, and freeze some for later use.


Miz for Italiani basil pesto-034 (2)

  • 4 cups lightly packed fresh Italian basil leaves, blanched
    • 2 quarts water (for blanching)
    • 1 tbsp kosher salt
    • Ice water bath
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan Reggiano
  • 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 plus 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • Chili flakes to taste
  • Kosher salt to taste



  • Grate Parmesan Reggiano and measure out 1/2 cup; set aside.
  • Toast pine nuts if not already toasted.
  • Peel garlic; set aside.
  • Remove basil leaves from stems, discard the stems and any discolored leaves, wash and drain three times to remove any sand or dirt, spin dry; set aside.


  • Blanch basil:
    • Pour the water into a large soup pot, add 1 tbsp kosher salt, bring to a boil.
    • Add the fresh basil leaves, stir, after 1 minute remove the basil using a slotted spoon and place immediately into the ice bath to stop the cooking.
    • Remove the basil and using your hands squeeze out as much water as possible.
    • Place on a cutting board, chop, add to a high-speed blender.
  • Add the olive oil, grated cheese, pine nuts, garlic cloves, and 1 tbsp of lemon juice to the blender, puree until you reach your desired consistency.
  • Test for seasoning:
    • Add more lemon juice if desired
    • Add chili flakes and salt to taste.
    • If the pesto is too thick for your preference you may also add a little more olive oil at this time.
    • Give the pesto a quick pulse or two in the blender to incorporate anything you may have added.
  • Your Italian basil pesto is ready to use!
    • Add to your favorite pasta dish, spoon onto roast chicken, marinate veggies before roasting, or even garnish soups with a spoonful of this flavorful and very versatile sauce!


  • Spoon the pesto into a storage container (with a lid), place a sheet of plastic wrap on top of the pesto and press lightly to remove any air pockets, place the lid on and refrigerate. ┬áMay be stored in the fridge for up to seven days or frozen for up to six months.

Miz for Italiani basil pesto-034

Italian Basil Pesto





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