5-minute pesto sauce recipe

STEPS 3 INGREDIENTS 6 TIME 5-10 MINS The aim of this hassle-free pesto sauce recipe is to turn you from the kind of pasta lover who grabs a jar of pesto at the store, into a true pesto believer – someone who ‘gets’ why it’s such a winning idea to make it yourself! (For my video pesto guide, click here.) easy pesto pasta recipe

So why is it better to make pesto rather than buy it?

• The crunchy-to-munch meal you’ll produce will taste super-fresh, with much stronger nut and herb flavours that any pesto you can buy off the shelf

• It’s really not difficult (only six pesto sauce ingredients!)

• You’ll be done making it in five minutes (it’s just a 3-step process)

This particular pesto recipe for example – which hails from Genoa on the Italian Riviera (the birthplace of pesto) – requires just six simple ingredients and one piece of equipment.

Pesto sauce recipes don’t come much easier than that!

In fact after making this sauce, I predict you might not buy a jar of pre-produced pesto ever again! (At least that’s my aim.)

Serves 2

Ingredients: (For a printable PDF shopping list click here, or right-click this link and choose ‘Save target/link as’ to save the list for later.)

50g/1.8oz basil leaves (why not learn about planting basil?)

1 tablespoon (20g/0.7oz) of pine nuts/seeds

(TIP: Consider buying more of these than you need, as they’ll keep fine in a cupboard)

1 clove of garlic

1 tablespoon (20g/0.7oz) of grated parmesan cheese

Extra virgin olive oil

A pinch of salt


A pestle & mortar, or a small handheld mixer/blender


Preparation time: just 5 mins

STEP 1 – Peel the garlic clove and slice off the ends. Chop this finely, pop it in your mixer or mortar, and add a glug of oil.

STEP 2 – Rinse and throw in the basil leaves, followed by the pine seeds and parmesan.

STEP 3 – Mash/mix/whiz the mixture until it turns to paste.

TIP: If the mixture seems dry, add a little more oil.

Done! How simple?


Now: Just cook 200g/7oz of your favourite pasta (100g for each person). Genovese people like to eat pesto with linguine (a type of flat spaghetti), along with small cubes of boiled potato and/or green beans (also boiled).

TIP: When your pasta is cooked and you are draining away its water, try pouring two tablespoons of this water into the pesto to loosen it up. Then finish draining, add the watered pesto to your pasta and mix it thoroughly.

Buon appetito – happy eating!