Growing up, pesto was always one of my favorite indulgences. I requested it for my birthday once, and my mom purchased pine nuts that were not shelled. Let me tell ya what…NEVER do this. I think it took her no less than seven hours to shell half the bag. Pesto is supposed to be easy! And this recipe is the easiest, because we don’t make you dust off the food processor and all of its parts. By chopping the ingredients by hand, you prevent your pesto from turning into a homogenized emulsion or paste. You want to discern the basil from the olive oil and the pine nuts and parmesan. The flavors remain bright and pop, just as the Italian grannies intended. That said, if you’re into more of the smooth and creamy type, by all means use the food processor. (Adapted from bon appétit.)



½ cup pine nuts

3 oz. Parmesan, grated (about ¾ cup)

2 garlic cloves, finely grated

6 cups basil leaves (about 3 bunches)

¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp. kosher salt

pinch of red pepper flakes


Start chopping the garlic along with about 1/3 of the basil leaves. Once this is loosely chopped add more basil, chop some more, add the rest of the basil, chop some more. I scrape and chop, gather and chop. At this point the basil and garlic should be a very fine mince. Add about half the pine nuts, chop. Add the rest of the pine nuts, chop. Add half of the Parmesan, chop. Add the rest of the Parmesan, salt and red pepper flakes and chop. In the end you want a chop so fine that you can press all the ingredients together. Cover the pesto with olive oil and mix. You can set the pesto aside, or place it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. Just before serving, give the pesto a quick stir to incorporate some of the oil into the basil.