Basil Pesto

3 Cups Fresh (live) Basil, including the delicate stems. Remove the hard, woody stems.
1/3 Cup Lightly Salted, Dry-Roasted Cashews. Halves and pieces are fine. Pine nuts have become a waste of money and the difference in flavor is undetectable..
1 or 2 Ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (a block about 1/2″ x 2″ x 2″), grated
2 Cloves Garlic
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
Careful! – There’s very little difference between enough salt to make it perfect and enough to make it too salty

Basil Pesto

  • Add the nuts to the food processor with a sharp metal blade and as grind finely as possible.
  • Add the grated cheese and garlic cloves and process as finely as possible.
  • Add the basil to the food processor and process until as finely as possible.
  • With the food processor still running, add Extra Virgin Olive oil until it has the consistency of a thick sauce. If the nut/garlic/basil mixture sticks to the side of the bowl, you’ll need to stop and scrape it down to make sure it’s all mixed properly.


  • This was traditionally made with pine nuts, however since pine nuts have been over $30/pound, I’ve switched to dry-roasted, lightly-salted cashews, which are about $6/pound, and nobody noticed.
  • The delicate stems taste just as good as the leaves and there’s no need to waste them. Use everything except the thick, woody stems.
  • Store the extra pesto in the refrigerator in a glass jar with a lid. Before refrigerating, smooth out the surface and gently float a thin layer of olive oil on top. The oil will keep air away from the pesto and will prevent it from discoloring.

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