How to Make a QUICK Pesto

Have to admit that I didn't grow up eating pestos. Not sure my mom liked them either since I can't ever remember her making or eating them. However, when I started my first cooking blog, I really began to experiment with ingredients I had never tried. Since then, I added herbs to my diet, basil in particular, I knew it would be a matter of time that I'd be making pestos. It took away the desire to use salt a lot in my cooking.

Pestos usually start off with some kind of fresh green. You can use just about any fresh green you have on hand like basil, parsley, or spinach.

Add other ingredients, usually garlic cloves and nuts. Now I'm not a BIG NUT fan, but when they're all blended in together it isn't so bad for me. You do need to crush the garlic clove and then you can put it in whole or chop it up. You can add as little or as much, I know some people like a mild garlic flavor while others, like me, like a lot! As far as the nuts, toasting them before making the pesto I find is much better because the toasting really enhances their flavors. You can buy them already roasted in the store or you can put some nuts into a pan over low heat and toast them until golden brown. Then put them in the blender with the basil and garlic.

The important additive which helps binds all these wonderful ingredients together.

A little lemon zest is needed and I use my handheld microplane, but you can use whatever you have to zest the lemon, just make sure you get only the skin because anything below it is too bitter.

When all blended, you have this wonderful sauce that's now ready to pour over the pasta or any fish you're cooking. If you have leftovers, you can refrigerate it and it will keep for a good few months. Pouring a little bit of olive or vegetable oil on the top will help keep it longer as it creates a protective barrier. So, here's the recipe:

  • 2 c. basil (you can also use spinach if you want or parsley)
  • 1/4 c.pine nuts (toasted preferably)
  • 1/3 c. EVOO (a good one)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • Grated parmesan cheese (optional) - about 1/4 cup or more if you like


Put ingredients in blender and mix well, sprinkle more parmesan over pesto as you like. Then pour over any pasta or fish.

Fettucine Pesto
original photo by Cliff Hutson

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