Basil Pesto Sauce

Updated April 2022.

I have been wanting to make my own pesto forever – probably since the first time I ever tried pesto sauce. With dad’s trip winding down, I thought I should squeeze this recipe in before he leaves.

Though this can be expensive to make (pine nuts are not cheap!), it’s a relatively simple recipe and can be used in much more than pasta recipes. I can’t wait to spread it on pizza crust or mix it with mayonnaise to pep up a sandwich or Panini.

The recipe does not say how long you can keep pesto sauce before it goes bad; however, a quick Google search recommends using the sauce within 7 to 10 days. You can easily freeze the sauce by lining an ice-cube tray with Saran wrap and filling the ice-cube trays; however, it’s recommended that you omit the cheese if freezing. Apparently cheese does not freeze well. (Though I swear my mom used to freeze cheese when I was young…)

I found when making this recipe that 2 (relatively) packed cups of basil didn’t cut it for me. My sauce was more yellow than green and runnier than what I expect for a pesto sauce. So I continued adding basil until it was bright green and a thicker consistency. Of course when making this you should go for the taste and consistency that works for you.



  • 2 to 3 c. fresh basil leaves, washed and patted dry (or more, as desired)
  • ⅔ c. grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • ⅓ c. pine nuts
  • ⅔ c. extra virgin olive oil (use expensive, good quality if you can – I recommend Brightland or Kosterina)
  • 5 cloves of fresh garlic (or cheat and use jarred minced garlic – I won’t tell anyone)
  • pinch of salt, or to taste (optional)


  1. Blend pine nuts and cheese in a food processor for a few seconds.
  2. Drizzle in the olive oil, blending until desired consistency is achieved.
  3. Add garlic and blend; add basil and blend.
  4. Let stand for an hour. Refrigerate or freeze to store.
  5. Yields sauce for one to one and one-fourth pounds of cooked pasta (one cup).

Recipe rating: 

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