Want to take your pasta up a notch? Add depth of flavor to burgers? Take a break from basic butter on your toast? There’s a spread that does it all, and then some — and it’s so, so easy to make.
Pesto comes from the Italian word for “pounded,” and though it was originally made in a mortar and pestle (it’s still traditionally made this way in parts of Italy), today, you can whip it up ultra fast thanks to modern cooking appliances like blenders and food processors.
Read our Pesto Genovese recipe below, courtesy of Saveur, and keep scrolling for clever modifications that produce bold, rich flavors, plus tips and tricks for perfect pesto every time.
Place basil, nuts, and garlic in a food processor blender and process until finely minced. Slowly add olive oil in a steady stream as the machine is running. Continue adding oil until the mixture is smooth. Then, add the cheese and process just long enough to combine.
Once you master a basic pesto recipe, there are infinite variations! Try different nuts, like pistachios or walnuts. You can also experiment with different oils, like avocado oil or coconut oil, or cheeses like pecorino. Even the herbs are up for experimenting! Skip the basil and try adding parsley, spinach, or kale. Just adhere to the basic recipe below for the ratio you’ll need of each ingredient:
Pesto is almost foolproof, but there are a few tips and tricks worth knowing:
Need more dinner ideas? Check out all of our cooking tips!