This easy homemade pesto is made with a mixture of parmesan, pecorino cheese, and toasted pine nuts. It takes only 10 minutes to make and tastes way better than the store-bought stuff!
If you’re looking for a good versatile sauce, then this homemade pesto is it! It’s made with a blend of fresh ingredients including toasted pine nuts, basil, and a blend of pecorino and parmesan cheese. All of which come together in a food processor in just 10 minutes.
Enjoy it in the spring or summer on sandwiches, pasta, or the ever-popular pesto eggs! Trust us, you’ll want to put this on just about anything!
- Fresh Basil Leaves: You’ll need about 2 packed cups basil with the stems cut off.
- Pine Nuts: Our favorite! They add a slight nutty flavor which comes out even more when they’re toasted.
- Garlic: Fresh is always best. You’ll need one large clove.
- Parmesan Cheese: We like to use a microplane to finely grate it.
- Pecorino Romano Cheese: This adds a bit of pepperiness to the pesto giving it an extra bite of flavor. If you can’t find any, just add more parmesan.
- Extra-Virgin Olive Oil: This is the base for pesto and helps to emulsify all the ingredients together. With most recipes containing olive oil, extra-virgin is the way to go.
- Fresh Lemon Juice: 1 lemon should get you 2 tbsp of juice.
- Salt: Add to taste
Instructions (with photos)
Below is a step-by-step guide with photos on how to make homemade basil pesto in a food processor.
Step 1: Toast the pine nuts in a pan over medium heat. Toss them around until lightly browned on all sides.
Step 2: Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic, cheeses, and lemon juice to a food processor.
Step 3: Blitz until the basil is finely chopped. The basil may cling to the sides of the food processor. Just take a spoon and scrape down the sides before blending again.
Step 4: With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil. If you pour it all in at once, the oil won’t mix properly into the pesto and it’ll separate from the other ingredients. Streaming it in like this also helps to get a vibrant, creamy looking pesto.
Once the oil is well combined, mix in the salt to taste.
- Add the olive oil very slowly. Doing so allows the oil to incorporate better and give the pesto a nice creamy consistency. Otherwise, you’ll end up with pools of oil on top.
- Use a microplane to grate your cheese. This gives you a finer “crumb” of cheese which incorporates nicely into the pesto.
- Use high-quality ingredients. Since pesto is a very simple recipe to make, it’s important that each element is made with high-quality ingredients to get the best flavor. No jarred garlic or parmesan from a shaker please!
The best substitution would be walnuts, but you can also use pistachios or almonds.
It’s best eaten fresh but you can store it for up to 3 days in the fridge. After a while the color will start to brown.
It’s best stored in an airtight container in the fridge. Our favorite container to use is this Le Parfait jar since it comes with an extra layer of sealed protection. That way your pesto will stay vibrant and green. Alternatively, you can store it in ice cube trays and place them in the freezer for later.
What to Eat with Pesto
- Gnocchi: Add it by itself or with a splash of cream to make pesto gnocchi.
- Pasta: Trenette al pesto anyone?
- Sandwiches: It’s great on both hot and cold sandwiches.
- Aioli/Mayo: Amp up these classic condiments by adding in 1-2 tbsp per ½ cup.
- Potatoes: Smashed, baked, roasted – you name it!
More Italian Inspired Recipes
This easy homemade pesto is made with fresh ingredients that make it better than anything you can get at the store. It only takes 10 minutes to make and tastes amazing in pasta, sandwiches, sauces, and more!
- 2 cups (75 g) fresh basil leaves, washed with stems cut off
- ¼ cup (40 g) pine nuts
- 1 clove garlic
- ¼ cup (10 g) parmesan cheese, finely grated
- ¼ cup (10 g) pecorino romano cheese, finely grated
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- ⅓ cup (75 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt, to taste
- In a pan over medium heat, toss the pine nuts occasionally until lightly golden (about 2-4 minutes).
- Add the basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, cheeses, and lemon juice to a food processor.
- Blitz until the basil is chopped into small pieces. You may have to scrape down the sides a few times to make sure there are no large chunks.
- With the food processor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until combined.
- Add salt to taste and blend.
- Use in pasta sauces, sandwiches, and more. Enjoy!
Use high quality ingredients for a better tasting pesto.
Slowly stream in the olive oil to get a creamy, more cohesive mixture. Dumping it all in at once doesn’t allow the oil to incorporate into the other ingredients, causing it to pool on top.
Pesto is best eaten fresh, but you can store it in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Alternatively, you can freeze it in an ice cube tray.
Nutrition info does not include salt and is only an estimation.
- Serving Size: 1 tbsp
- Calories: 63
- Sugar: 0.1 g
- Sodium: 21.6 mg
- Fat: 6.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 0.8 g
- Fiber: 0.4 g
- Protein: 0.9 g
Keywords: homemade pesto recipe, basil pesto recipe, easy, summer, spring, food processor