Classic Pistou


Pistou is an olive oil—based basil sauce from the south of France that closely resembles Ligurian pesto. There's only one way to make true pistou—by hand. Tear the basil leaves into pieces first, then grind the leaves against the side of a mortar with a pestle to puree them into a silky, creamy sauce. Like its Italian twin, pistou can also be served as an accompaniment to grilled meats, poultry, fish and vegetables. More Recipes From Paula Wolfert

Classic Pistou
Photo: © Quentin Bacon
Total Time:
20 mins
1 cup


  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 4 1/2 cups basil leaves, torn into pieces (2 ounces)

  • 1/4 cup coarsely grated plum tomatoes

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 cup finely grated Mimolette or slightly aged Gouda (3 ounces)


  1. In a large mortar, pound the garlic with the salt to a paste. Add the basil by the handful and grind the leaves against the side of the mortar until almost smooth. Stir in the tomatoes, then gradually stir in the olive oil until it's incorporated. Stir in the cheese and refrigerate until ready to serve.


Two Tablespoons 103 Calories, 10 gm Total Fat, 2.9 gm Saturated Fat, 1 gm carb, 0 gm Fiber.

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