Classic Basil Pesto

Classic Basil Pesto Recipe
Photo: Dan Goldberg; Styling: Dan Becker

This recipe, originally published (in narrative form) in a 1959 issue of Sunset, was one of the first pesto recipes in the United States. Catering to modern tastes, we've reduced the 3/4 cup oil in the original to just more than 1/4 cup. The flavors remain true in this Italian dish.

Makes 1/3 cup


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1/2 cup basil leaves
4 large or 6 medium garlic cloves
1/3 cup shredded romano cheese
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 tablespoons minced parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil


Put basil in a mortar with garlic, romano cheese, pine nuts, parsley, and salt. Pound until smooth, then add olive oil and mix until smooth. Or, whirl all ingredients in a blender.

Note: Nutritional analysis is per tbsp.

Created date

March 2008

Nutritional Information

Calories 76
Caloriesfromfat 78 %
Protein 3.1 g
Fat 6.5 g
Satfat 1.6 g
Carbohydrate 2.3 g
Fiber 0.6 g
Sodium 278 mg
Cholesterol 5.2 mg