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Fresh Basil Pesto

Prep:  30 min.

Total:  30 min.

Yields:  1 ¾ cups


1 cup walnuts (we actually prefer walnuts) or pine nuts

8 cups (4 ounces) lightly packed fresh basil leaves

2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped

2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Course salt and ground pepper




Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread nuts evenly on a rimmed baking sheet; toast in oven until golden and fragrant, tossing once, 8 to 10 minutes. Let cool completely.  (Sometimes we do this, sometimes we don’t.  I can tell you right now that there have never been any complaints about CVF Fresh Basil Pesto that skipped this step with walnuts.)


Meanwhile, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil; add basil, and submerge with a spoon. Immediately drain in a colander. Rinse with cold water until cool, and then pat basil completely dry in paper towels. (We actually blanch the leaves in a multipot, just long enough to get them all wet.  We then lift out the insert, rinse with cold water (to stop any cooking) and then spin them dry to get rid of any excess water in a herb/salad spinner.  Don’t have one of those?  Don’t worry, just drain thoroughly after rinsing.  This step helps to preserve the bright green color of your basil in the final product.)


In a food processor, combine nuts, basil, and garlic; season generously with salt and pepper. Process until nuts are finely chopped. With machine running, pour oil in a steady stream through the feed tube; process until smooth. Use immediately, or freeze.  Great on pasta (delicious with Parmesan cheese), chicken, as a pizza sauce or a flavor booster in soups.  What is your favorite use for CVF Fresh Basil Pesto?

Adapted from:

Recipe was first published in Everyday Food September 2005


A few CVF notes:


Our Favorite Pesto is actually a 50/50 mix of this recipe and the Lighter Pesto recipe that you will find in our recipe section.


Freshly made pesto can be kept for up to 3 days in the refrigerator in an airtight container with plastic wrap pressed onto the surface.


Frozen pesto should be used within 6 months.  You can use ice cube trays for smaller portions (once frozen just pop into a freezer bag) or quart ziplocks work well for 1 cup amounts.  I like to freeze them flat will all of the air pressed out.  Frozen pesto can be thawed overnight in the fridge or just lay out on the counter while you boil the water for the pasta.

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