Perfect Pesto

I'm probably the only one this late for dinner, but before recently, I never tasted Pesto before.  I know, I know.

Well, now that I've emerged from my culinary rock, allow me to share with you my latest favorite, super easy recipe for PESTO

Open pesto

At the heart of this Pesto is the herb, Basil. 

Basil is definitely one of my favorite herbs to grow and I've had great success with home-grown harvests over the years.

I love the distinct aroma of Basil and its thick, full leaves always look so healthy and vibrant. 

This photo below is from my herb garden crop from last year.

Basil leaves

The recipe I'm sharing with you today is courtesy Nana Banana (my mom) who guided me through my first-ever batch of Pesto (it's foolproof by the way).

You'll only need a handful of ingredients including fresh basil leaves, parsley, parmesan cheese, garlic, olive oil and chopped walnuts (optional). 

The precise measurements of each ingredient are in the downloadable PDF below.


Pesto ingredients

Place the parsley and basil into a food processor or blender and chop it mixture.

All the ingredients blend so smoothly and easily together. 

blending pesto ingredients

After a few spins in the blender, the ingredients produce a perfect Pesto. 

It only takes a few minutes.  Yes, it's that simple.

A tablespoon of Pesto in the center of a plate of pasta makes for a declicious looking presentation, especially when garnished with a bit of parsley on the side.

Sprinkle walnuts around the dish as desired.

NOTE: Don't forget about potential nut allergies among lunch/dinner guests.  If serving to guests, it's always best to keep (optional) nuts in a separate dish.

Pasta and pesto dish

If featuring Pesto at your next lunch or dinner gathering, pour the Pesto in a dish with spoon and allow everyone to help themselves.

Wouldn't this Pesto look beautiful in a decorative dish or server?  I'll definitely do that next time I make this.


By the way, pesto is not only delicious with pasta, it's also pretty tasty spread thinly on toasted french bread or breadsticks.

Nana Banana typically eats her Pesto with spaghetti but she also adds a colorful, tomato-filled salad on the side as a way of introducing more color to the table.  

Pesto and pasta plate

So, have you ever made Pesto?  Or are you new to Pesto (like me)?

If you've never made Pesto before, I hope this post inspires you to give the recipe a try.


cherry blossoms



Spring is in the air and in my neck of the woods, so are the cherry blossoms.

Coming up on Monday (4/22)  I'll share a look at one of my favorite blooms of the year.

Hope you pop by this blog again next week for a closer look at sweet blossoms.

See you then.

  • Orianne

    Hello there Lisa, after so many inspirational ideas I have enjoyed from you, now is my turn to give something back to you.
    It’s my great pleasure to share my family’s Pesto sauce, an authentic Genovese recipe.
    As someone with Italian heritage, ‘Pesto’ was one of the first things I learned to make with my ‘Nonna’ (‘grandmother’ in Italian) as a small child. Back then, my grandmother would prepare it using the traditional method of a mortar and pestle to ground and meld the ingredients together and I was fascinated at how quickly she would transform a bunch of leaves and a pungent white little bulb into an aromatic paste that made my mouth water in anticipation. Later on she adopted an easier modern method of using a mini-chopper or blender and before the water for the pasta even started to boil, the pesto sauce was ready. I preferred short pasta to the long, still do, like ‘fusilli'(resembles mini cork screws, ‘rigatoni’ or ‘penne righate’, because the creamy, green pesto would cling to all the nooks and ridges and I could catch every bit of intense flavour on the pasta instead of leaving some of it on the plate.
    Pesto has also become a favourite with my own children, and as a busy mom, I’ve learned how versatile this fast, easy sauce can be. I’ve never thought of putting it on toast á la Nana Banana, but I am guilty of dipping some fresh, crunchy bread just to check the flavour before noticing half the loaf is gone; it can be quite addictive! Pesto works wonderfully well on things like poached or oven baked fish or chicken, mashed potatoes, rice, risotto, bruschetta, and caprese salad (mozzarella and tomato slices).
    -3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
    -1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    -1/4 cup pine nuts
    – 2 cloves garlic, peeled
    -1/3 cup freshly grated parmigiano cheese
    – 2 tablespoons freshly grated pecorino romano cheese, or 2 additional tablespoons parmigiano (parmesan)
    Put all the ingredients, except the cheese in a food processor until smooth. Pour sauce into a small bowl and stir in the cheese. The pesto is then added to freshly cooked, drained pasta and stirred through so that all the warm pasta is covered with the creamy, green pesto. If not using immediately, can be refrigerated for a couple of days or frozen. Just thaw at room temperature if removing from freezer.
    As your experienced helpful tips are always welcomed and appreciated by me when sharing your projects, I hope mine now can be of the same service to you.
    As their are only 4 to 5 ingredients in Pesto sauce, it is important that they are of the freshest and best quality, like Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
    Parmesan/Parmigiano cannot be substituted for other cheeses but if you don’t have Pecorino Romano cheese you can just add more freshly grated Parmesan.
    Although walnuts can be used if you wish in a Pesto sauce, it is not as common in Italy as the original and more traditional pine nuts. Also, curly leaf parsley is never used in Pesto sauce and does not actually exist in Italian cuisine; instead the more flavourful flat-leaf variety would be found in an Italian pantry
    I hope you get a chance to make and enjoy this easy and quick Pesto sauce, from my kitchen to yours, and I hope Nana Banana approves too. 😉

  • Vicki

    Thanks for the post Lisa. Pesto is a favorite so I will give your-NanaB recipe a try.

  • Elaine Chiosso

    Your pictures are lovely. I just made my first batch of cilantro pesto –had a huge spring crop of it. Delicious, and tried it over butternut squash ravioli!

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