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Classic Basil Pesto

Makes 1/3 cup

This recipe, originally published (in narrative form) in a 1959 issue of Sunset, was one of the first pesto recipes in the United States. Catering to modern tastes, we've reduced the 3/4 cup oil in the original to just more than 1/4 cup. The flavors remain true in this Italian dish.

Classic Basil Pesto

Photo: Dan Goldberg; Styling: Dan Becker
 1/2 cup basil leaves
 4 large or 6 medium garlic cloves
 1/3 cup shredded romano cheese
 3 tablespoons pine nuts
 2 tablespoons minced parsley
 1/2 teaspoon salt
 1/4 cup plus 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Step 1

Put basil in a mortar with garlic, romano cheese, pine nuts, parsley, and salt. Pound until smooth, then add olive oil and mix until smooth. Or, whirl all ingredients in a blender.

Step 2

Note: Nutritional analysis is per tbsp.

Nutrition Facts

Servings Makes 1/3 cup

Amount Per Serving
Calories 76Calories from Fat 78
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6.5g10%

Saturated Fat 1.6g8%
Cholesterol 5.2mg2%
Sodium 278mg12%
Total Carbohydrate 2.3g1%

Dietary Fiber 0.6g3%
Protein 3.1g7%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.