Mary Ann Esposito

Makes 2 cups

The word pesto comes from pestare, to pound. Pesto is made with fresh basil leaves and is the signature sauce of the region of Liguria and, in particular, Genoa. Its sweet, slightly peppery flavor marries well with many ingredients. Pesto is delicious on pasta but it's equally good on fish and pizza and a great addition to hearty soups.


1 1/2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano or Pecorino-Romano cheese
1/2 cup Filippo Berio Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, optional
Extra-virgin olive oil


In a food processor, combine the basil and garlic and process to a coarse puree. Add the cheese and process to blend. With the motor running, add the olive oil in a thin steady stream through the feed tube. Add the pine nuts and blend the mixture until smooth. Season with salt and pepper if you wish.

To store, transfer to a jar and pour a thin layer of extra-virgin olive oil over the top to preserve the pesto. Refrigerate.

Note: You can also make this the traditional way using a mortar and pestle. Grind the basil and garlic together to a coarse puree. Add the nuts and grind to a smooth puree. Blend in the cheese. Blend in the oil a little at a time. Season to taste.

This recipe is from CIAO ITALIA by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc., in 1995.

item recipe is featured in Episode 0 of Season 0.

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  1. Geri La Place's avatar

    Geri La Place

    | Permalink
    Just made the basil pesto. We added some red dried peppers for pizazz. Delicious.
    Going to make the frozen basil pesto for future use. Our herbs are many and ever so tasty.
    Thank you, Geri La Place

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