Basil pesto

Four ingredients combine to make a fresh, fragrant pasta sauce by Mark Sargeant
By Mark Sargeant
Basil pesto
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 2
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Effort: easy


  • handfuls basil
  • handfuls pine kernels
  • 50 g freshly grated parmesan, or Pecorino cheese
  • 5-6 tbsp olive oil

Tips and Suggestions

To store the pesto, pour into a jar, float a layer of olive oil on top, cover and refrigerate for up to a week.


1. Wash and dry the basil leaves.

2. Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and toast the pine nuts lightly for 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

3. If you're using a pestle and mortar, pound the garlic with the salt to make a soft mush. Pound in the pine nuts, followed by the basil leaves, 2-3 at a time, with a circular movement of the pestle. Continue until you have a silky paste. (The mixture can be frozen at this point).

4. Work in the cheese, then beat in the olive oil with a wooden spoon to make a thick, dense sauce. Add more or less oil depending on the texture you like.

5. If you're using a processor, put all the ingredients in and blend to a luscious green sauce. Taste and adjust seasoning.

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