Pesto Presto!

Whir Up a Quick Raw Sauce and Ramp Up Your Dishes

Pesto is a raw herb sauce that is made in minutes. Enjoy how rich a sauce can be with just a few ingredients. Pesto is used on a wide variety of dishes—veggies, soups, flatbreads, salad dressings, over eggs, on-and-on.

Pesto PastaTo make pesto you need fresh herbs—dried won’t work. Pesto will last a few days under refrigeration, but to preserve, fill individual cubes in a plastic ice cube tray with the fresh pesto, then freeze the tray. Remove the pesto cubes to a freezer bags.

Alternately, you can place in a jar covered with about a 1/2 inch of olive oil and plan on using in about a month.

One cube (about 1 TBS) of pesto will season about a quarter-pound of pasta, make one recipe of salad dressing, or season an eight-cup pot of soup.

Basil Pesto

Makes 1 cup

Use all basil or combine with up to 50% parsley. Change out basil for sage, arugula, or mint. Each will yield another delightful sauce.

  • garlic, 2 tsp., rough chopped
  • basil, fresh, 2 cups, loosely packed
  • salt, 1/4 tsp.
  • nuts, 1/4 cup, pine nuts, or walnuts or try others
  • olive oil, 3 TBS.
  • Parmesan cheese, 1/3—1/2 cup, (optional), or Pecorino Romano


In a small food processor or mortar, combine garlic, herbs, salt, and nuts. Blend or crush into a paste then drizzle in the olive oil.

Pulse in the cheese (if using) until just combined. Add more oil if too thick. Alternately, use water to create a light “mayo-like” consistency.

Use as a flavor bomb on almost any dish that can use herbs—add a tablespoon at a time and then taste to adjust if needed. It powers up a soup when added off heat into each bowl.

© 2017 Bill Hettig


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