Pesto is fast to make, fresh and really quite luxurious.


Pesto is traditionally served as a pasta sauce, but it also makes a great dip or spread. Thinned out with a little extra oil, it’s fab drizzled over bruschetta or tomato soup.

Pesto is more versatile than you might think. Think of it as a sauce made with herbs, cheese and nuts and start making different combinations. Rocket, blue cheese and walnuts is one of my favourites.

A Note on Parsley: The parsley in this recipe is not traditional. It does fill an important function though. When basil is cut, it browns. If you leave it for a while, the mixture goes almost black. Vitamin C stops the reaction and parsley has a lot of vitamin C. A squeeze of lemon juice has a similar effect but adds acidity, which isn’t always desirable.

Serves: 4-6 as pasta sauce or dip. Prep: 5 minutes. Cooking time: 0 minutes.
Stores: For a couple of days in the fridge.


  • 50 grams (or two small bags) fresh basil
  • 1 small handful parsley (about 1 stalk)
  • 1 clove garlic (optional)
  • 50 grams vegetarian Italian-style hard cheese, or Pecorino
  • 50 grams pine nuts
  • 50-100 grams olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Chopping board
  • Knife
  • Stick blender


  1. Roughly tea the basil in half and put in the stick blender with half the oil, the parsley and the garlic.
  2. Blitz until smooth, adding more oil if needed, and stopping to shake or wipe down the sides every now and again.
  3. Add the roughly chopped cheese and the pine nuts.
  4. Blitz until you have the desired consistency, adding oil for a looser sauce.
  5. Season to taste.


  • Go goat: Goats cheese, spinach and almonds work well. Chuck in the zest of a lemon for a bit of brightness.
  • Go blue: Rocket, blue cheese and walnuts make a rich and very nice pesto. Serve with fresh pasta and salad, and that’s all you need.

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