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A Quick Homemade Pesto Recipe

In under five minutes, you'll have a pesto that will truly impress.
A Quick Homemade Pesto Recipe

When it comes down to it, it’s the little things that count in the kitchen: when you salt your chicken, where you buy your fish, how long you rest your steak before slicing. Do these simple things correctly and you’ll be a better cook on the spot. But, as we’ve highlighted throughout the book, it also helps to have a few secret weapons up your sleeve. And no weapons can have more of an instant effect on the quality of your food than some condiments. They hail from all over the world, but they share one thing in common: They bring maximum flavor impact with minimum effort. Have at least a few of them in the fridge at all times and you can turn even the dullest meal into something memorable. You can buy perfectly fine pesto in the refrigerated section of most supermarkets (we like Cibo), but it will never taste as good as a homemade batch—which, by the way, takes all of 3 minutes to make. This pesto recipe makes enough for a big pasta dish with enough left over to spread on turkey sandwiches and swirl into soups and salad dressing. To keep it extra fresh and green, float a thin layer of oil on top of the pesto before refrigerating—the oil will keep the basil from oxidizing and turning dark.

Makes about 1 cup

You’ll Need

2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp pine nuts
3 cups fresh basil leaves
1⁄4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt and black pepper to taste
1⁄2 cup olive oil

How to Make It

  1. Place the garlic, pine nuts, basil, and Parmesan, plus a few pinches of salt and pepper, in a food processor.
  2. Pulse until the basil is chopped.
  3. With the motor running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until fully incorporated and a paste forms.

Eat This Tip

Pesto Preferences:

You know we love a versatile recipe. That way you can simply and easily alter a given recipe to suit your preferences, or better yet, give yourself a few options so as to not get bored. For adapting this pesto recipe, simply swap out the basil and pine nuts for other exciting options. Here are a few ideas: kale and walnuts, cilantro, sundried tomato—the choices are limitless!

This recipe (and hundreds more!) came from one of our Cook This, Not That! books. For more easy cooking ideas, you can also buy the book!

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