Dips & Sauces, Main Course, Pasta & Rice, Recipes
Comments 7

Too good to be true Pesto

 What would you say, if I told you that I had the best Pesto recipe ever??!! Impossible right, cause I’m not even Italian, nor can I trace any of my roots to that hallowed land of food. (Ya, sometimes I dream I was Italian, eating their food everyday … bliss, bliss.) But I DO have the best pesto recipe. The result of trial, error, trial, error, consultation of many books and amalgamation of the best tips from the net – I give to you – Too Good to be True Pesto. I can’t even tell you it kicks store bought pesto’s ass because that would be like comparing a diamond to a piece of coal! I’m not claiming its authentic, I’m not even claiming that its by the book, but what it is, is heavenly green awesomeness that I could wrap my tongue around and ride off into the sunset with! Am I getting carried away? No, No, No… when you’ve found the holy grail of pesto’s wouldn’t you be shouting it out from the mountain tops? Here’s to my beloved Pesto – I love you, I do.  

Too Good to be True Pesto

Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: Nil
Serves: 4 (for pasta)

What you need:
1/3 cup Pine Nuts/ Almonds (I like Almonds better)
2 cups fresh Basil leaves, finely packed
1/3 cup Olive Oil (good quality)
4 cloves Garlic (med)
1/3 – 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
40 gms Butter, softened
1/2 – 3/4th Tbsp Sea Salt, depending on taste
Freshly ground Black Pepper to taste
What to do:
Place almonds in a dry pan, stir under moderate heat till lightly toasted. Or microwave for 1 min, stir in-between once. Place in a food processor and give it a whir till you get small pieces. Add basil leaves, garlic and sea salt. Process for 20 secs or until you can still see micro mini pieces of the basil leaves. DO NOT process till pasty. For best results I would use a mortar and pestle, but on busy days the processor can be used intelligently. Transfer to a bowl. Add parmesan cheese, butter and pepper. Mix well. Now here’s the best bit – add ½ the olive oil and mix with the pesto. The remaining oil can be poured on top of the pesto. This protects the green color. Now sit and admire!
To serve with Pasta: Drain 500 gms of cooked pasta, (I’ve used whole wheat spaghetti) add the prepared pesto. (I go by three tsps per serving). Toss with more Olive Oil if required. Serve immediately. Sprinkle extra parmesan if you want to indulge.

Note: Pesto sauce can be made in large quantities for later use. It keeps well in the refrigerator for up to a week (covering it with a thin layer of olive oil preserves the color) if you keep in a glass jar with a well fitting lid.
If you want it to last longer, avoid mixing in the butter (as the butter can turn rancid). You can always mix in some fresh butter just before serving.

Pesto can also be stored in the freezer and will retain its color and flavor. Thaw in the refrigerator for a couple of hours before use.


  1. Pingback: Salad Pizza – for real! | The FoodPorn Diaries

  2. thank you Swapna! I'm so glad I got to know about Godrej Natures Basket, never shopped in any of these places before. I always thought Thoms was “the place” for everything but now I know… 🙂


  3. Hey Manisha, Tata and Aakar sell sea salt in packets. I would actually call it rock salt. That's what I use. If you are talking about the fancy sea salt (Fleur de Sel) Hypercity has it …but it costs an arm and a leg! As for Rosemary and other herbs…all my shopping is done in Namdhari's and Godrej Natures Basket.


  4. Hey Swapna, I've never liked the sea salt that we get in the local stores, is there a better quality one available? Could you also let me know where can one buy fresh rosemary and other herbs in Bangalore since you use them in your recipes 🙂


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