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Heidi's Classic Pesto With Some Tasty Variations on the Theme

Those of you who make pesto on a regular basis may notice that my recipe has no garlic. That is because without the garlic, I have found you can really taste to full flavor of the delicate herbs - Enjoy!
Keyword Local lamb and goat, pesto


  • 1 packed cup fresh Italian basil leaves
  • ½-3/4 cup of pine nuts or pignola
  • 1 cup fresh shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ½-3/4 cup extra virgin, ultra premium olive oil


Combine the basil, and pine nuts in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the basil and the nuts are both finely chopped. Add in the shredded cheese. With the machine running, drizzle the olive oil through the feed tube until the pesto reaches your desired consistency. Thicker pestos work better as spreads or toppings and thinner pestos are best used as sauces on pasta and risotto or as a “dressing” for roasted potato salad or chicken salad.

Recipe Notes

Pesto variations: Basil Pistachio Pesto: Substitute pistachios for the pine nuts for a slightly stronger but exceptional flavor profile. Mint pesto: Substitute mint leaves for basil and almonds for pine nuts. Served with grilled lamb chops Sage pesto: Substitute sage leaves for basil and cashews or pecans for pine nuts. Served with grilled or roasted turkey or chicken. Sun-dried tomato pesto: Add ¼ cup of oil-soaked and drained sun-dried tomatoes to original recipe. Great on pastas or smeared on hot toasted bread.