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Easy Pesto Recipe

This pesto recipe is quick and easy and my favourite sauce for pasta. The name comes from the Italian for grinding pestatura as it is traditionally made by grinding the ingredients in a mortar and pestle, however, it can also be made with a food processor. 
I also like to add some lightly fried spring greens or leeks and mushrooms but that is hardly traditional! If you are after a really authentic dish leave them out and use fresh pasta. I made a video about making different pasta shapes as well as the recipe here.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main Course, Starter
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 638kcal
Author: Kathryn Burrington


  • 450 g vermicelli (or any ribbon pasta)
  • 1 tbsp pine-nuts
  • 100 g fresh basil
  • 50 g parmesan or pecorino cheese grated
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 5 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • freshly ground black pepper


  • Lightly grill the pine nuts.
  • Peel and coarsely chop the garlic.
  • Wash and coarsely chop the basil, having first removed the stems.
  • Pound the nuts, garlic and basil in the mortar.
  • If need be this can then be transferred to a larger bowl and first the cheese and then the oil can be gradually mixed in until you have a smooth paste.
  • Season as required with freshly ground black pepper.
  • Cook the pasta, as per the instructions on the packet, until it is al dente. (You'll find a link to my recipe for making fresh pasta above.)
  • Fry some spring greens or leeks and mushrooms in a little olive oil (optional).
  • Drain the pasta and thoroughly mix in the sauce.
  • Garnish with a few pine nuts, slivers of cheese and a sprig of basil.