Basil: Basil Pesto


  • 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or walnuts
  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves, washed and tightly packed
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese


Spread out the nuts on a pan and bake for 10 minutes at 400˚F. Watch them carefully, because you can burn them before you know it! In a blender combine basil, garlic, pine nuts, pepper and olive oil. Blend at a high speed until smooth, then put the paste in a bowl and add Parmesan cheese. Give the mixture a good stir to incorporate the cheese and it’s ready to fold into your favorite pasta. I use about 1/2 cup of pesto per pound of cooked pasta. What you don’t use, you can freeze.

Recipe from P. Allen Smith’s Veggies & Herbs card collection, featuring 27 of Smith’s favorite herbs and vegetables, as well as corresponding recipes for a true garden-to-table experience. Browse this and other P. Allen Smith books and publications at

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