Handmade Pesto
© Susan Spungen

Handmade Pesto

  • SERVINGS: Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Pounding the ingredients in a mortar produces a pesto of incomparable texture: silky basil leaves and olive oil bind coarser bits of garlic and Parmesan.

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  1. 3/4 cup pine nuts or coarsely chopped macadamia nuts (6 ounces)
  2. 5 cups basil leaves, chilled and perfectly dry
  3. 6 small garlic cloves, quartered
  4. 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  5. 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for sealing
  6. Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Toast the nuts on a baking sheet for about 4 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  2. Coarsely chop the basil leaves. In a large mortar, combine the basil and garlic and pound to a coarse paste. Add the nuts and pound until a smooth paste forms. Stir in the Parmesan, then 3/4 cup of the olive oil. Transfer the pesto to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Smooth the surface and pour a little olive oil on top to seal.