Italian Pesto Sauce: Recipe and Tips

With this unique sauce, even the most ordinary dish turns into a gourmet delicacy. The recipe for pesto sauce is quite simple and can be whipped up at home and goes well with pasta and many meat dishes. Pesto is another classic Italian sauce.

Homemade pesto is the best pasta sauce, a great way to enjoy the abundance of spicy basil and add a sophisticated aroma with a spicy touch of Italian style to the dish.

Classic Pesto Sauce - Recipe Step by Step

Prepare all the food you need. Rinse the basil in cold water and separate the leaves from the twigs. Peel the garlic.

Finely grate a small piece of hard cheese with a special tool or on a finer grater.

In a food processor bowl, place fresh basil leaves, a clove of garlic, and pine nuts. Just mix all the ingredients.

Then, while scrolling at low speed, in a thin stream, slowly add olive oil.

After the mixture has become more uniform, add the grated cheese, a pinch of salt and stir with a blender until a smoother consistency.

Remove the bowl of the combine, if necessary, you can add a little more salt and then pour into a separate bowl or jar.

Pesto Sauce is a versatile product that you absolutely must keep in your refrigerator. If you are using it as a flavor enhancer, you only need a very small amount. In this case, the fat and salt content of the sauce will not have much of an impact on the overall nutritional balance of the dish.

    Recipe tip:

  • For the perfect pesto sauce, it is imperative to use only fresh basil.
  • Walnuts may be substituted for pine nuts if there is a problem with the availability of pine nuts.
  • Also, it is imperative to use selected cheese of the best varieties. Do not use grated cheese that you may have stored in the refrigerator for a long time. You should rub just before cooking.
  • Basil is prone to oxidation on contact with metal, which leads to loss of taste and therefore, when scrolling, lemon juice is often added to the blender cup, but this changes the true taste. Best of all, in order to avoid undesirable consequences, you need to put a piece of ice or pre-soak the basil leaves in ice water.
  • History, composition of pesto and nutritional value

    Pesto is native to Genoa (Italy). Traditionally, real pesto is made from basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic, parmesan cheese and olive oil, ground together to form a paste.

    Modern pesto has many variations. Its ingredients can be sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, herbs like parsley or coriander, as well as all kinds of nuts.

    Once opened, store-bought pesto can be stored for about a week. To extend the shelf life, you can simply freeze the covered container in an ice cube.


    Since the main ingredients in this sauce are oils, nuts and cheese, it's easy to guess that pesto is high in fat. Most species had a fat content of 40-50%, although the less traditional paprika pesto has a significantly lower fat content.

    All of the above is not necessarily bad. It is also important to consider how the product is used. Pesto tends to have a strong flavor. If it is used in cooking as a flavoring ingredient, only a small amount will be needed, which is unlikely to have a large effect on the total fat content of the finished dish.

    On the other hand, if you plan to empty the entire container by dipping crackers, for example, high fat content becomes a serious problem.

    Most commercial pesto samples have a saturated fat content of 1.1 to 8.5 grams per 100 grams. Saturated fats are "bad" fats, and too much of it in your diet can lead to high cholesterol levels. If pesto sauce is a frequent and "abundant" guest on your table, you should definitely pay attention to the content of saturated fat in it: try to find a product in which there are less than 5 grams per 100 grams of sauce.


    Fatty foods are often also high in calories (providing the body with a lot of energy), but the amount of calories consumed, of course, depends on how much sauce you use.

    At the lower end of the energy scale is fried pepper pesto, a tablespoon of which provides 120 kJ of energy, while the same amount of basil and fried garlic pesto contains 430 kJ.


    Nutritionists advise to reduce the salt (sodium chloride) content in our diet, and this recommendation is especially relevant for people with high blood pressure. A tablespoon of pesto weighs about 18 grams on average and contains 31-88 mg of sodium. This dose is not critical, especially considering that the maximum it can be consumed up to 1600 mg per day. But if you're using pesto as a dipping sauce, don't serve it with other salty foods like chips or salted crackers.