Homemade Pesto

4 cups
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup pignolis
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
  • 5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups good olive oil
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 30 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is finely pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Serve, or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

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    27 Reviews
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    There is nothing like homemade pesto, and this recipe is no exception. I loved the combo of walnuts and pine nuts. Super easy and stores very well.
    The best pesto recipe out there. The mixture of walnuts and pine nuts gives it a wonderful nutty, rich flavor that is unparalleled. Please remember to use good quality KOSHER salt in Ina's recipes. It is much milder in flavor. If you use table salt, her dishes will be WAY too salty. When I learned to use kosher salt from Ina, it completely revolutionized my cooking!
    This is the best pesto recipe I've found. Yes, it's got a lot of garlic, but that's part of the pesto experience. I still can't figure out why people change the recipes and feel the need to write a mediocre review. It makes no sense.
    I used about 3/4 cup of olive oil and 3/4 cup of parmesan. The pesto was delicious! Easy and we saved half of the pesto for another day! Great over grilled mahi-mahi!
    Fresh pesto is so superior to store bought. This recipe is super easy with the food processor. And I do like the addition of walnuts. It not only adds body to the pesto, but walnuts are less expensive. Although the pesto is best when freshly made, this recipe makes more than I can use at one time. I freeze the rest in small containers, covering the top with olive oil. Very nice to have in the freezer! It defrosts quickly.
    There are several things amiss with this recipe:
     1) Too much fat / oil seems to be a Garten trademark. The pesto is an oil slick with basil added. Far too much oil in proportion to the basil. My hubby's Sicilian relatives agree. For 5 cups of packed basil, use 1/2 to 1 cup of olive oil, not 1 1/2 cups per this recipe.
     2. Walnuts are an also ran in pesto - useful in a pinch, but the best path here is with all pignolias. They're spendy but worth it.
     3. You probably won't' want the salt - a good, fresh grated parmesan will be pretty salty on it's own.
     4. On the cheese, a good FRESH GRATED, not food processor ground or pre grated and packaged, Parmesan is essential to good pesto.
     A tip:
     Put some of the pesto in ice cube trays and freeze. Should be about 2TBS, 1 oz, each. When frozen, pop them out of the tray into a zip lock bag and keep frozen. A pesto cube popped into pasta sauce or a veggie soup thaws quickly and adds a great fresh basil flavor.
    As my husband would say...  
    'There is no such thing as too much garlic!!' 
    (With him being allergic to onions, we do what we must!!
    Fantastic Pesto! I followed the recipe exactly as written. Make sure the basil leaves are packed when measuring. A teaspoon of salt is not to much for this recipe. You measure the garlic by 3 Tablespoons, NOT the 9 cloves in parentheses, that's a guideline, because of course it depends on the size of the garlic clove. The pesto also freezes very well. If it gets to dry after thawing, just add a bit more olive oil.
    I discovered Pesto from a Food & Wine magazine in the late 80's, and I've been hooked ever since. I had a bumper crop of Basil this year and decided to give making my own pesto a try. Enter Ina, and her receipe. Magnifico! An absolutely great receipe, and success. Lake Lady from Smith Mountain Lake.
    Good recipe. But come on. Stop with the fancy names. Call pignolis what they are .......PINENUTS
    I foolowed the recipe but used 3 cloves of garlic and modified it to reflect the ingredients I had handy.... I used almonds that I ground with my handy dany nut grinder; about 2 cups of basil from the garden; about 4 cups of fresh spinach leaves; and the juice of 1 lemon along with a little lemon zest - maybe 1/2 tsp....the rest was the same. This was really good...
    My husband and I suffered from garlic coma after making this recipe the first time! 2-3 small garlic cloves is more than enough. Also, a bit less Salt and Parmesean makes this simple recipe perfect!
    I have not put it on pasta yet, but from tasting it while making the pesto, I would cut down on the parm by a 1/4 to a 1/2 cup to taste the basil more. I too cut the oil to about 3/4 cup. Most recipes to which I compared this one called for a 1/2 cup, 1 cup at the most, so I wonder if it was a typo... Tasty stuff, though!
    This was my first recipe from my new Ina cookbook and the first time I made pesto. Way, way, way too much garlic. It's 2 days later and my husband swears he can smell the garlic when he's next to me. I will use 3 cloves instead of 9 (!!??) next time.
    I had a bumper crop of basil in my garden this summer and made a lot of pesto and froze it using this recipe as a guide. You always have to temper the salt when you use one of Ina's recipes. I don't know why she is so heavy handed with the salt, but I cringe when she adds it. Maybe I'm not eating like the rest of America, but it's usually too much for me and my husband. Also, I think that the garlic here is a misprint. I'm sure it means 3 teaspoons and not tablespoons. Anyway, that's what I used 3 teaspoons and 1/2 tsp of salt and it came out great. The way I figure, you can always add more salt, but it's too late once it's in there.
    This pesto was amazing yet too much garlic. I used about 9 cloves and it had a big bite to it! This recipe was so good with regular spagetti!
    I love garlic but this had a little too much bite!
    This was a delicious and simple recipe to follow, but go EASY on the salt as one reviewer has also cautioned. Again, I would also highly reccomend watching the size of your garlic cloves! If you are working with large cloves, you will not need as many. This pesto was delightful when tossed with angel hair pasta.
    As good as pesto can be. Perfect!
    Hmm, Hmm
    I followed the recipe exactly and we loved it. It was great on chicken. The remaining will be used all week. Thanks Ina.
    This recipe calls for way too much salt. Unless you want to be downing water all night long, I do not recommend using this amount of salt. Better off with half or even a quarter as much. Also, I didn't use walnuts, and use 1/2 as much cheese and it came out great. Good recipe.
    Make this exactly as the recipe states!! It is absolutely the best!
    very good pesto. it was a tad too garlic-y (maybe my cloves were too big). next time ill use 7/8 cloves to err on the side of caution.
    I love this recipe and it is now a staple of mine! I have fresh basil plants growing in my kitchen and use them. Apparently there is a shortage of pine nuts and has been for the last 3 months or so, so I just used all walnuts and it was still delicious! In fact, I don't think I'll go back to pine nuts...I loved the flavor. Thanks again for another great recipe Ina!
    I can't wait to make this pest...I seen it on TV this morning and it's sounds so delisious! Dawn from Wisconsin
    This pesto was delicious and easy! just add a little to pasta, chicken, veggies or anything you want!
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