Green pesto sauce

Green pesto sauce
Green pesto sauce hails from Genoa, in the Ligura region of Northern Italy and is simple to make, affordable to make fresh, and is packed with a lovely fresh flavour.
'Pesto' comes from the word pestâ' or pestare, meaning 'to pound' or 'crush', and these words both originate from the Genoese language. The pesto is a base of pounded pine nuts and herbs – most commonly and famously basil is used.
This classic Italian green pesto sauce is perfect served simply alongside pasta or potatoes and grated parmesan. Most store bought pesto doesn't contain pine nuts and uses cheaper substitutes – but if you can use pine nuts rather than cashew or walnuts the taste is much different, and much, much better.
Green pesto sauce is extremely versatile, and although quite salty, can form the basic of many healthy dishes.
The pesto can be kept in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to two weeks too – just add a bit of extra virgin oil as an airtight layer over the top of the sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4


  • 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 125 g pine nuts
  • 100 g parmesan cheese
  • 100 g fresh basil
  • 4 garlic cloves (sliced)
  • salt & black pepper (for seasoning)


  • Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan, over a medium heat for 5 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Add the grated parmesan, roughly chopped fresh basil, olive oil, garlic, and toasted pine nuts to a small blender and blend to your desired consistency – I prefer quite a rough paste.
  • Season to taste and stir through – I tend to add about half a teaspoon of salt and black pepper, if not more!
  • Serve tossed into some linguine or pappardelle pasta, and top with yet more grated Parmesan cheese and black pepper.
The ingredients in a traditionally made pesto are ground with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar. This same Latin root through Old French also gave rise to the English word pestle.