Pesto Presto Recipe

We collaborated with Farminista’s Feast on a Cooking Web Series highlighting quick, easy, tasty, healthy meals. Because basil peaks in the summer season, last year we went on a tear to make enough jars to freeze, so we could use off season. With little effort and time, you can make pesto presto.

We recommend purchasing a few basil plants because it’s less expensive and fresher than buying from a market. Place your basil plant in sunny place in the kitchen. Water generously every day.

Pesto Recipe

Prep time: 30 minutes


  • 2 large bunches of Genovese basil (preferably organic)
  • 1 1/3 cup hand grated Parmesan Reggiano cheese
  • 6-8 cloves peeled garlic
  • *2/3 cup of toasted pine nuts
  • Juice of a 1/2 small lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil

* To toast pine nuts, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place raw pine nuts on a small cooking sheet or pan, for about 5-7 minutes. Shake pan after 3-4 minutes. Because they are delicate and small, remove them from the oven as they begin to change color to a golden/light brown.


  1. Snip off branches or part of a branch from your basil plant starting from the top. Rinse under water and place on paper towels. Pat dry (follow same process if you are purchasing from the market).
  2. Pull off green leaves from the branch.
  3. Pack the leaves in the bowl of a food processor with grated cheese, garlic, lemon juice and pine nuts. Mix until it becomes a thick paste.
  4. With the processor running, slowly drizzle in olive oil until it forms a thinner paste.
  5. You may refrigerate some of the pesto in an airtight container to use within three days.
  6. Serve fresh or freeze extra pesto in small mason jars. Leave room at the top to avoid cracked jars.

When ready to use, add a generous amount of your favorite extra virgin olive oil to the pesto to thin out and to further balance out the intensity of the concentrated flavor. To keep basil fresh for weeks, try this Cooking Guru tip!

DIY Pesto presto to use in a sauce, spread, or topping for these Cooking Guru episodes: Caprese Salad, Zucchini Panini, and Goat Cheese with Sun-dried Tomato Penne. Besides pasta, use your DIY pesto with eggs, a topping for chicken, fish, as a sauce for pizza, lasagna, or as a spread on sandwiches.

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