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Classic Basil Pesto

Photo: Dan Goldberg; Styling: Dan Becker

Makes 1/3 cup

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.


  • 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

Nutrition 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

How to Make It

  1. 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.

  2. Note: Nutritional analysis is per tbsp.