When I ditched processed  foods for healthier options, I started cooking from scratch. I made my own marinara sauce. Whipped up my own mayonnaise. And made pesto from fresh basil.

While my first two recipes turned out great, my first attempt at making pesto wasn’t as successful. How did I manage to mess up something as simple as a pesto sauce?

Look, I am no Martha Stewart when it comes to cooking but I do know how to cook the best fried chicken in the world (just ask my Mother) and I can make a mean Pesto tuna pasta out of a store-bought ready-made cheesy pesto sauce. So I was pretty confident that a DIY pesto is as easy as pie.

On the surface, the recipe for Fresh Basil Pesto is incredibly easy. I couldn’t believe I’ve been buying ready-made pesto this entire time. But the sauce turned out too pungent that it wreaked havoc to my senses. Believe you me, when you fail at pesto, there’s no plan B or kitchen hack that would save it. So if you want to enjoy a good pesto, there’s no choice but to do it right – all the time.

Pesto is the one healthy food that I truly enjoy because of its rich flavor. Screw it up big time and there’s no fine line between a compromise and throwing the whole thing into the trash. You really just can’t eat it.

So, where did I go wrong? When I searched for the easiest basil pesto sauce on the net, I ignored the long post about it and went straight to the recipe. One thing to consider when making a condiment with an herb as the main ingredient is the quality of the ingredients.

If you can get your hands on the freshest ingredients, then you’re off to a good start.

Basil and Almond Pesto

Recipe by Missy Robbins, former executive chef of A Voce in New York City, now the owner of Lilia Restaurant

What you’ll need:

1 bunch Italian flat leaf parsley, stems removed

2 bunches basil, stems removed

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup almonds, skin on, chopped fine

1/4 cup pecorino cheese

1/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano

Kosher salt

How to make it:

  1. Bring a large pot of water with salt to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water set aside. Quickly cook the parsley and basil separately in the water until just wilted. Shock both in the ice water.  Drain the herbs and soak up most of the moisture using paper towels.
  2. Place the cooked herbs in a blender and pulse until it forms a paste-like texture. Slowly pour in the olive oil and continue to process until well pureed. Remove the puree from the blender and place in medium bowl. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well combined. The pesto is now ready to stir into pasta, spread on toast, top a pizza, or anything else you wish to do with it.

Makes about ¾ to 1 cup of pesto.

Alternate Ending

Click on the link below for the step-by-step process of making a really good pesto :) You’re welcome!

Get the full recipe here.

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