Homemade Classic Basil Pesto

About 10 servings
Prep Time:
Total Time:
A plate of pasta and shrimp with pesto next to a container of pesto
Print Recipe

Rate This Recipe

Just a moment please...

Did you make this?

Instagram logo

Snap a photo and tag @macheesmo so I can see your work.

Tasty pesto goes with pasta, sandwiches, and lean proteins—like chicken breast and white fish—to add big flavor. You can also toss it into steamed vegetables, baked potatoes, and even soups (like minestrone).


6 ounces fresh basil leaves, 3 bunches or 6 cups
½ cup pine nuts, about 2.7 ounces
⅔ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, about 2.7 ounces
1 clove garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
⅛ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, about 3 twists of the grinder
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more if needed


  1. Toast the pine nuts until golden brown. Place the pine nuts in a pan over medium-high heat. Continually shake the pan to ensure even toasting. Remove from heat when the pine nuts show brown spots, about 5 minutes. Put the pine nuts in a bowl to cool down.
  2. Remove any remaining stems from the basil leaves. Rinse the leaves to remove dirt and debris. Gently pat the leaves dry.
  3. Peel and mince the garlic. Set aside.
  4. If using a block of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grate the cheese using a box grater or the grater attachment (also called shredder disc) on your food processor. Leave the grated cheese in the food processor bowl.
  5. Make sure the pine nuts are cool (so they don’t melt the cheese). Add the pine nuts and minced garlic to the food processor bowl.
  6. Using the S blade, pulse the food processor 5 times to combine the cheese, pine nuts, and garlic.
  7. Add the basil leaves to the food processor bowl.
  8. Drizzle the olive oil slowly into the chute of the food processor while the food processor is turned on. The basil leaves should get chopped up and combine with the other ingredients. If the food processor is chopping too quickly, you can pulse instead. Continue until the basil leaves turn into big green flecks (similar to the size of dried oregano).
  9. Add the salt and pepper. Pulse the pesto 3 more times to combine the salt and pepper. The pesto is ready.