A great basil pesto recipe! Learn how to make to this Italian classic in a few simple steps and with just a handful of ingredients.
Today I’m sharing a really simple recipe for fresh basil pesto. It’ll take you literally minutes to make and tastes out of this world good! This homemade pesto is the best pesto I have made to date and it couldn’t be any easier or simpler to make!
The “secret” ingredient that makes my pesto taste so good is the roasted garlic. Roasted garlic is such an underrated ingredient, it transforms this pesto and adds a light and sweet flavour. Before I perfected my own pesto recipe, I’d always made pesto with raw garlic. It’s ok, but I find it leaves a bitter taste in your mouth afterwards, whereas the roasted garlic is sweeter and gives a more rounded flavour without leaving a bitter aftertaste. I found these instructions for roasting garlic here. It filled my kitchen with most gorgeous garlic aroma and I would highly recommend you give it a try!
With just a handful of ingredients this basil pesto is not only satisfying on the taste buds, but because it’s so easy and quick to prepare it is definitely worth going to the extra effort to make it yourself. Pesto will store in the fridge for up to a week, so it’s ready and waiting for you to use to make a tasty dinner. You can’t beat this pesto mixed through cooked pasta, it’s delicious.
2 x 30g (60g in total) bags of fresh basil leaves
3 cloves roasted garlic (only use 1-2 small cloves of fresh garlic)
50g pine nuts, toasted
55g Parmesan or other vegetarian hard cheese, freshly grated
5-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a food processor pulse together the basil, garlic, pine nuts and Parmesan until they are minced.
2. With the processor on slow speed add the oil (a tablespoon at a time) in a slow stream. Now season to taste with salt and black pepper. Process for another minute until all the ingredients are combined.
3. Place the pesto in a jar or bowl and drizzle over a little extra oil to cover the top – this keeps it fresh. Store in the fridge for up to one week.
- If you can cannot find pine nuts you can easily substitute with walnuts, almonds, cashews or pistachios. For a nut-free version you can substitute with sunflower seeds.
- Adjust the consistency of your pesto by adding a tablespoon less or more oil.
- When toasting the pine nuts always toast on a medium heat in a dry pan. Watch them as they burn very easily and will taste bitter.
There are endless ways of serving this fresh basil pesto recipe. In the summer and when it’s too hot to cook and I don’t feel like putting together anything too elaborate for lunch or dinner, then pasta salad is a lifesaver! I simply mixed together cooked orzo/risoni with this basil pesto, then I added halved cherry tomatoes and mozzarella pearls (bocconcini). Delicious Caprese pasta salad and this will last for a week in the fridge. You can use any pasta you like, sometimes I use fusilli, penne or even orecchiette.
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54 thoughts on “Pesto alla Genovese (Fresh Basil Pesto)”
I made pesto last week with some basil I have been growing over the past few months, but I didn’t use roasted garlic…. I may have to give this a try! You can never have too much pesto or garlic in my opinion 🙂
Thanks Amanda! The roasted garlic is incredible – so good and it adds amazing flavour to the pesto. You should definitely give it a go! 😀
I haven’t bought pesto in so long, as it’s just so easy to make. I don’t make it too often though, as I put it on everything.
Thanks Dannii! I agree homemade is always better!
Mmmm what a stunning pesto, Jess! I love pesto, and its always sooo fun to make at home! This sounds delicious, thank you for sharing 🙂
Thank you! Pesto is a great recipe and it’s definitely great fun to make too!
Pesto is my absolute favorite, yet I’ve never made it myself before! I love this recipe, Jess! Sounds absolutely delicious!
Thanks so much Gayle! You should definitely have a go at making your own pesto, it tastes really good!
Ummm, what a droolicious pesto, Jess! I so adore love homemade pesto, and this one looks and sounds absolutely delish! Thanks for this lovely recipe! 🙂
Thanks Anu! 😀
Love the beautiful green in the pesto! Now I’m craving some pasta! 🙂
Thanks Eva! 😀
Yes! I love the roasted garlic twist here. We’ve been eating a ton of pesto lately (it freezes so well), but now I want to make another batch with roasted garlic. Thanks for sharing…and thanks for making me crave pesto at 9:00am! 🙂
Haha! Glad you like the pesto, David! Roasted garlic really is a magic ingredient especially in homemade pesto!
Such a great idea to add roasted garlic! I never thought to add to pesto but it will definitely counteract that bitter taste. Trying this soon!
Thanks Jenna! The roasted garlic really is amazing and adds really delicious flavour the the pesto! Hope you do try it! 😀
Thanks Elaine – it was super tasty!
I made pesto recently with wild garlic – amazing!!
Never tried wild garlic before – when I find some, maybe I’ll give it a try in this pesto recipe! 😀
Do! It’s gorgeous! You replace the basil and garlic with a pile of Wild garlic 🙂
Will do – I’ll report back! 😀
Wonderful recipe! And the photos look amazing 🙂
Thanks so much Linda! 😀
Homemade pesto is the best! Great recipe, love it!
Pesto is a summer favorite here! That was such a great idea to use roasted garlic!!!! Pinned!
Thanks Rachelle! 😀
Gorgeous pesto! I love homemade pesto and it looks perfect with the pasta and roasted tomatoes! Yum!
Thanks so much Kelly! The pasta was delicious with this homemade pesto. 😀
Nothing beats good homemade pesto! It’s so easy to make and I add it to so many different things. I use almost the same recipe, but I replace the parmesan with nutritional yeast to make it vegetarian friendly 🙂 x
Thanks Nadia! You’re so right – homemade pesto is amazing! I’ll definitely have to try the vegetarian version soon! 😀
What a fabulous idea to put the roasted garlic into a pesto, Jess! I must admit I sometimes find the raw garlic in normal pestos really overpowering, so I really must try this! 🙂
Thanks so much Helen! 😀
I love pesto so much that I could eat it with a spoon! But I’ve never made it with roasted garlic…genius!
Thanks Marissa! I too could definitely eat pesto by the spoonful – it’s so tasty! Glad you like this recipe with the addition of roasted garlic! 😀
I bet I would love this, I love love LOVE the addition of garlic! 🙂
Thanks Sam! 😀
Oh I have to try this pesto. Love the roasted garlic addition. I bet it’s amazing.
Thanks Zainab! It was really good, hope you do try it! 😀
Yes yes yes yes yes. Pesto is one of those favorites that makes everything taste better. PESTO ON EVERYTHING!
Thanks Sarah! It’s so good!
Yum – the roasted garlic I bet puts it over the top!
Thank you – it really does transform the pesto and adds amazing flavour. 😀
Roasted garlic is my jammmmm, and yet I’ve always used raw garlic in pesto. Ive been missing out — using this recipe next time for sure!
Thanks Kelly! Roasted garlic is my new favourite thing! Love it. Hope you enjoy my recipe! 😀
Pesto is one of my favorite things, and I love roasted garlic! Pinned. 🙂
Thanks Marcie! 😀
I love making my own pesto, it’s so much fresher and more flavorful. Looks delicious!
Thanks Denise! 😀
Homemade pesto is the best! I love how fresh it is and yours looks great 🙂
Thanks so much Medha! 😀
I haven’t made pesto, but will have to try it. Yours looks stunning!
Thanks Vanessa – that’s great, I really hope you enjoy the pesto!