How To Make Pesto Recipe Jamie Oliver The Best

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Pesto is a vibrant green sauce, bursting with the flavors of fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. Originally from Genoa, Italy, pesto has become a global phenomenon, gracing everything from pasta dishes to sandwiches and even pizza.

This recipe takes inspiration from the culinary maestro himself, Jamie Oliver. While there are countless variations on pesto, this version offers a classic and delicious foundation for your culinary creations.


Ingredients (serves 4)

2 large handfuls fresh basil leaves (around 50g)

  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 30g pine nuts, toasted
  • 50g grated Parmesan cheese
  • Good pinch of sea salt flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 125ml extra virgin olive oil

  • Directions

    1. Prepare the Basil: Wash the basil leaves thoroughly and pat them dry with a clean tea towel. You want to remove any excess moisture to ensure a vibrant green color in your pesto.

    2. Combine the Base Ingredients: Using a pestle and mortar, or a food processor, combine the garlic cloves, pine nuts, and a generous pinch of sea salt flakes. Grind or pulse until a coarse paste forms.

    3. Add the Basil: Next, add the basil leaves and continue grinding or pulsing until the leaves are finely chopped and well incorporated with the garlic and pine nut mixture.

    4. Incorporate the Cheese and Oil: Add the grated Parmesan cheese and slowly drizzle in the extra virgin olive oil while pulsing or grinding continuously. This will help emulsify the pesto, creating a smooth and creamy consistency.

    5. Season and Adjust: Season the pesto with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Give the pesto a final taste and adjust the seasoning as needed. You can add a little more salt or cheese if desired.

    6. Serve and Enjoy! Your homemade pesto is now ready to be enjoyed! Traditionally, pesto is served tossed with pasta, but you can also use it on bruschetta, spread on sandwiches, or even dollop it onto grilled vegetables.

    Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

    Calories: 490

  • Fat: 48g
  • Saturated Fat: 7g
  • Carbohydrates: 8g
  • Protein: 8g
  • Sodium: 320mg

  • Please note: These are approximate nutrition facts and may vary depending on the specific ingredients you use.


    With this simple recipe, you can whip up a batch of delicious homemade pesto in minutes. The fresh flavor of basil combined with the rich notes of Parmesan cheese and pine nuts creates a versatile sauce that can elevate a variety of dishes.

    Now that you’ve mastered the basics, feel free to experiment with different variations. Try adding roasted red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, or even a handful of walnuts for a unique twist.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. Can I substitute the pine nuts in pesto?

    Yes, you can definitely substitute the pine nuts in pesto. Here are a few alternatives:

    Walnuts: A classic substitute that adds a slightly different flavor profile.

  • Almonds: Another good option with a slightly milder flavor than walnuts.
  • Cashews: These add a touch of creaminess to the pesto.
  • Sunflower seeds: A budget-friendly option that adds a nice nutty flavor.

  • 2. How long does homemade pesto last?

    Homemade pesto will last for up to 3 days in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container. You can also freeze your pesto for longer storage. Pour the pesto into ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, transfer the pesto cubes to a freezer-safe container. The pesto cubes will last for up to 3 months in the freezer.

    3. My pesto turned brown. What went wrong?

    The most likely culprit for browning in pesto is oxidation. Exposure to air can cause the basil leaves to turn brown. Here are a few tips to prevent this:

    Use a food processor instead of a mortar and pestle to minimize the amount of time the pesto is exposed to air.

  • Make sure to add enough olive oil to create a layer on top of the pesto in the container. This will help to prevent browning.
  • Squeeze the air out of the container before storing it in the refrigerator.

  • 4. What can I do with leftover pesto?

    There are endless possibilities for leftover pesto! Here are a few ideas:

  • Toss it with cooked pasta and vegetables for a quick and easy meal.