Go nuts with pesto

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 20 January, 2012, 12:00am


How to make pesto

Pesto is a quick, easy and tasty sauce for pasta. If you can't get hold of pine nuts or don't like them, you can replace them with walnuts, almonds or cashew nuts. Once made, pesto can be kept for about a week in the fridge.

Equipment you will need

Food processor




Frying pan

Wooden spoon



200g fresh basil leaves

70g pine nuts

2 garlic cloves

150g parmesan cheese

300ml extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


1 Put the pine nuts in a single layer in the frying pan. Toast them over a low to medium flame. Keep moving them around with the wooden spoon. The nuts will turn golden brown after a few minutes. Set aside.

2 Grate the parmesan cheese and set aside.

3 Tear the basil leaves into smaller pieces and place in the food processor. Add the nuts and garlic.

4 Place the lid back on the food processor. Process on a low speed the ingredients until they are coarsely chopped.

5 Turn the processor off. Then remove the pusher part from the feed tube. Turn the processor back on a low speed, and slowly add the oil. Process until all the ingredients are well combined, smooth and creamy.

6 Turn the processor off. Remove the lid and carefully take out the blade. Transfer the pesto into a bowl and mix in the cheese using a spatula. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7 The pesto can be used immediately or you can place it in an airtight container and store it in the fridge.

How much do you know about pesto and the ingredients used to make this delicious sauce? Take this quiz and find out.

1 From which city in Italy does pesto originate?

a. Milan

b. Rome

c. Genoa

d. Venice

2 Basil is originally from which of the following countries?

a. Italy

b. Thailand

c. Laos

d. India

3. Basil comes from a Greek word meaning ...

a queen

b king

c princess

d prince

4 Pesto made using basil leaves, garlic, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil is also called?

a. pesto alla Genovese

b. pistou alla Genovese

c. pesto alla carbonara

d. pistou alla primavera

5 Pesto was originally used to flavour which of the following?

a. breads

b. cheese

c. soups

d. eaten on its own

6 Besides parmesan, which other cheese can be used to make pesto?

a. cheddar

b. stilton

c. pecorino

d. brie

7 Pesto is the contracted past participle of the Italian word pesta. What does pesta mean?

a. to mix

b. to pound

c. to eat

d. to wait

Answers: 1. c, 2. d, 3. b, 4. a, 5. c, 6. c, 7. b.