Pesto with Pine Nuts

Find pesto made with pine nuts at a Southern California garden center.


  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 8 cups basil leaves packed tight
  • 3 large cloves garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes I use a heaping 1/4 teaspoon
  • 1 1/2 cups parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Place pine nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and toast for 7 minutes. Stir the pine nuts and continue baking for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. Do not let the pine nuts burn. Set aside.
  2. In a blender or food processor, combine the basil leaves and garlic. Pulse until finely chopped. (Note, if using a blender you may have to scrape down the sides and stir several times or use your tamper).
    Add the red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, pine nuts and lemon zest.
  3. Turn the blender or processor on and in a slow, steady stream add the olive oil until it’s incorporated. Add the salt and pepper and pulse to combine.
  4. This makes 2 cups of pesto, so if you don’t need to use it all (that’s a lot of pesto) at once, I recommend lining an ice cube tray with plastic wrap and spooning the pesto into the cube containers. Freeze the pesto.
  5. Line a small sheet pan (that will fit in the freezer) with parchment paper. Remove the frozen pesto cubes from the tray and lay them on the parchment paper so that they don’t touch. Freeze again. Transfer the cubes to a freezer bag and store in the freezer. When you need some pesto remove one or two cubes at a time, place in a small bowl and defrost. Stir the pesto before continuing with your recipe.

16 servings


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