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Pesto (Italian ['pesto], Genoese ['pestu]) is a sauce that originates in the city of Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy (pesto alla genovese). Pesto alla genovese is made with Genovese basil, salt, garlic, Ligurian extra virgin olive oil (Taggiasco), European pine nuts (often toasted) and a grated hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano. Often Grana Padano, Pecorino Sardo or Pecorino Romano) are substituted.

In Provence pesto it is known as Pistou. In contrast with the genovese pesto, pistou is generally made with olive oil, basil and garlic only: while cheese may be added, usually no nuts are included.

Pistou is used in the typical soupe au pistou, a hearty vegetable soup with pistou flavor.

Having Peso in the winter months is easy if you start in September when there is plenty of fresh basil around at a very reasonable price.Several local Greenmarkets sell large bushels for only $2. Using the below method I find that a basil stock will hold well into the winter months. All that is then needed is to add the parmesan cheese and pine nuts.

Start with a bunch of fresh same day cut basil leaves from one of your local Green Markets.

Remove the leaves and wash well

Blanch the leaves till bright green and wilted in boiling water. This should only take 30 seconds - 1minute... remember do not cover the top to allow released carbon dioxide from the leaves to escape.

.Collect the leaves in a strainer and...

... quickly immerse them in an ice bath.

Squeeze dry the basil leaves forming a ball in your hand...


Your end product should be a ball of bright green basil. The same procedure is used for spinach.

Coarsely chop the ball of the basil with 1 ...

Add the garlic to the food processor and blend till smooth with 1/2 cup of oil. Add more info needed.

Then add the chopped ball of basil , streaming in the rest of the oil until a thick consistency is achieved (see below). Use less garlic if you prefer a weaker garlic taste.

NOTE: When using in soups or cooking the flavor with diminish.


4 cups of packed basil leaves
6 medium garlic cloves
1 cup of olive oil

will yield a good taste and consistency.

I generally add a ground pinch from a Vitamin C tablet the last few seconds and add to the pistou to help prevent oxidation in the freezer.

The final product can be used either as pistou or later transformed in pesto.

NOTE: I do not add the parmesan cheese or ground pine nuts to this mixture since they will NOT freeze well.

Put the basil, garlic, olive oil mixture into an ice tray.... freeze overnight and then remove and store in freezer bags. This basil will stay fresh and bright green well into the winter months.

For Pesto: Grind 3 Tablespoons of Pine Nuts in a Mortar with a Pestle. Add to 1/4 cup of Parmegian Cheese and mix well into the Pistou mixture.

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