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Basil Pesto Sauce

I enjoy a very garlicky pesto, so feel free to reduce the amount of garlic. The advantage of this, in addition to giving the sauce a beautiful lime color, is that it slows down the blackening (oxidation) of the basil.

When serving this over pasta, I add a generous amount of freshly ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon or lime. Of course, shredded cheese (such as Parmesan Reggiano, and, oddly enough, sharp English cheddar) is a frequent partner here with pasta; if I don’t add cheese, I just add a bit of sea salt.

Other than pasta, I’ve been known to put pesto on fish. And sandwiches, especially those with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes.


  • 1 1/2 cups pine nuts; try out other nuts, such as pistachios
  • 2 large bunches of basil
  • 1/2 bunch of Italian (flat leaf) parsley
  • cloves from 4 heads of garlic, papery skins removed
  • a bottle of extra virgin olive oil; you’ll probably end up using less than 1 cup


  1. Roast the pine nuts at 400F degrees until lightly golden and aromatic, about 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Wash and remove the stems from the basil and parsley. I dry them off in a salad spinner afterwards.
  3. Place the garlic, nuts and as much of the greenery that will loosely fit into a food processor or blender.
  4. Pour in about a 1/3 to 1/2 cup of the olive oil. Pulse to blend, stopping to scrape down the sides of the processor.
  5. Add more leaves, and oil as needed. Blend the items to desired: I prefer a somewhat roughish pesto, not too liquidy and smooth, but not too pasty either.
  6. Store the pesto in ice cube trays, topped with a thin layer of olive oil. I freeze them, then pop them out and defrost as needed. One cube works well in pasta for 1 or 2 persons.

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