Easy Basil Pesto

Summer means an abundance of fresh basil.  Fresh basil means fresh pesto.  So, summer must mean fresh pesto.

There are so many things you can do with pesto.  Spread on  baguette slices and garnish with a slice of tomato…make it even better with a piece of fresh mozzarella.  Toss it with warm pasta.  Mix with some mayo for basil mayonnaise.  Use on pizza and panini.  Thin it out with more olive oil and drizzle over roasted chicken or fish.

A lovely college friend of mine went to a Giada De Laurentiis cooking demo at Sur La Table when she was in LA 5 years ago.  She bought me a signed copy of Everyday Italian.  It is one of those cookbooks that I love, but don’t use nearly enough.  This pesto recipe is from that cookbook and it is so simple and delicious.

You can make this in a blender, or in a food processor.  If you’re planning to double the recipe, which isn’t a bad idea, so that you have some extra pesto for freezing, then use the food processor.

Basil Pesto

From Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis


  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, washed and dried
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1-2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2-2/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan


  1. Toast pine nuts in a 350°F oven for 6-8 minutes until slightly browned.  Be careful not to burn them.
  2. Place basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in blender with a tablespoon or so of the olive oil and blend.
  3. With the blender still going, slowly drizzle in the remaining oil until the consistency is to your liking.  You may need to stop every now and then to push any stray basil leaves back down.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and stir in parmesan, season to taste with more salt and pepper if desired.