Basil Pesto


  • 3 ½ – 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup coarsely chopped parsley (optional)
  • ½ – 3/4 cup freshly grated romano cheese
  • ¼ cup pine nuts or raw cashew pieces, lightly toasted (see notes)
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ cup cream or plain soy milk (optional)
  • garnish: fresh tomato slices


  1. Boil up enough of your favourite pasta to feed four people – I prefer to use pasta such as large shells or radiatore which have lots of surface for the pesto to adhere to, but linguini works well too.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, place all the ingredients except the cream or soymilk in a food processor or blender and process until homogeneous.
  3. If desired, place the pesto in a small pot with the cream and blend over med-low heat. Heat through and then pour over the pasta.
  4. If the cream is not being used, simply add the pesto to the drained, still hot pasta, mix gently but thoroughly and serve immediately.


  • (*) To toast the nuts, place in a dry cast iron frying pan and cook over low heat until they start to turn golden. They can also be done on a cookie sheet in the oven – whichever method you use, they need to be watched closely.
  • Pesto is a very forgiving and delicious recipe- try experimenting with cilantro leaves, dried tomatoes which have been softened or whatever strikes your fancy.
  • Pesto can also be added in doll-ups to soups, used as a sandwich spread, or added as a garnish to baked potatoes or cooked veggies.