Presto Pesto

pestoFeel like eating something fresh and want it to take 4 minutes to make?

Then make this. Add it to pasta, to soup or use as a dip. If you don’t like basil or pine nuts you can switch or add other flavours. See below for variations.


  • 1.5 cups of fresh basil leaves (washed and tightly packed)
  • 125mL good quality olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (lightly toast for extra flavour)
  • 2 cloves garlic – peeled (I find fresh garlic a bit strong, so you may want to either cut down number of cloves and/or roast the garlic so it isn’t so “bitey” and “strongly” flavoured. Information on how to roast garlic here)
  • salt
  • 60g (3/4 cup) Parmesan cheese – grated
  • pasta of your choice


  • Pot and colander (for pasta)
  • Mixing spoon
  • food processor or stick mixer with processor attachment


  1. Add basil, garlic, pine nuts, oil and salt to processor. Whiz until evenly chopped. You may need to scrape down sides a few times.
  2. Add cheese and whiz quickly to combine.
  3. This can be stored in jar under oil in fridge. If you wish to use to immediately, I suggest you mix it with UNRINSED pasta as the starch on the pasta assists the pesto to “stick” to the pasta. If you add a little bit (ie 50mL) of the drained pasta water, this will help further.


  • Mix basil and rocket for a bit more “bite” or “pepper”
  • Just use rocket and no basil.
  • Try different basil – not just traditional green.
  • Want to be super healthy? Try kale.
  • Instead of pine nuts use toasted walnuts or cashews.
  • Want to add some spice – add some fresh chilli.