Monday, August 15, 2011


’Tis the season for fresh summer bounty.  Tomatoes are ripening.  Corn, too.  And the basil’s been going strong for a while.  What better summer dinner is there than BLTs, corn on the cob, and a nice side of pasta with fresh pesto sauce?  I’ve recently started growing basil every summer (not to be confused with mint, which I grew only once . . . it took over my yard so horrendously that I had to move to escape it).  The reason I grow basil is obvious – pesto.  I adore pesto.  I would bathe in it if I could make enough of it.  And while most people intuitively know how to make a BLT or corn on the cob without recipes (if you don’t know how to do these things, email me in private – this is not something you want to admit to other people), wars have been fought over pesto recipes. 

But, fear not.  I have the best one.  I know, I know, you probably think you already own the best pesto recipe yourself, but, unfortunately, you are mistaken.  This recipe that I have (and that I will share with you very soon) was given to me by someone who knows all – my hairdresser.  I mean, really, if a hairdresser hasn’t been able to find the best pesto recipe in the world, then (s)he can’t be much of a hairdresser, right?  And, my hairdresser is such a generous and kind person that she gave me the A-OK to share this recipe with you.  So get out your pen and paper, or copy/paste/print.  Then, make this and savor it . . . and tell me I’m right.  Or, go ahead and give us your recipe!  I promise to have an open mind . . .


2 cups basil leaves, thoroughly washed and patted dry.
4 good-sized (my hairdresser’s words) garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 cup pine nuts (or walnuts – but why would you use walnuts when you could use pine nuts?)
1 cup olive oil
1 cup freshly grated imported parmesan cheese
¼ cup freshly grated imported Romano cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Optional:  You may add a “dollop” of butter to the mixture, although my hairdresser says this gets very controversial between those who favor butter and those who don’t.

Combine basil, garlic and nuts in the bowl of a food processor and chop.  Leave the motor running and add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.  Shut the motor off and add cheese, a pinch of salt and a liberal grinding of pepper (and the butter, if you wish).  Process a few more seconds. 

Makes 2 cups – enough for 2 lbs. of pasta.


  1. And when I hand this recipe out I call it "Chelsea's Pesto" because she made it for me. Or did she? Hummmm. The plot thickens. Marilu

  2. i prefer pine nuts but b/c they're 12.00/lb now, that's one reason to go walnuts :))

  3. I am getting ready to harvest the basil here in New York and planning on making Pesto today ... and I remembered that Debra blogged about Pesto, so I will try this recipe now. Thanks, Deb! Love you blog posts.

  4. Thanks, Debbie! You'll have to let me know how you like this recipe! :)

  5. Delicious! Thanks for the great recipe. I did not put butter in the pesto but when I boil the pasta I always reserve some of the liquid (pasta water) and add a little butter to it. I poured that over the drained pasta, blended in the pesto and enjoyed!

  6. Glad you liked the recipe! I haven't put butter in the pesto, yet, either, but I like your idea of putting a dab of it in a bit of pasta water and then pouring it over the pasta to keep it nice and moist. Thanks for the tip!