Recipe: Chef Michael Smith’s basil pesto

Classic Pesto Genovese featuring basil, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese.


This is a perfect accompaniment for white meats, fish or pasta. Because the word pesto simply means “paste,” you can use many different ingredient combinations to make this tasty condiment. Makes about 1 cup.

Pesto Genovese

Few large handfuls of fresh basil

1⁄2 cup (125 mL) grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Few handfuls of pine nuts

Generous splash or two of your best extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

Toss everything into a food processor and purée until smooth. The olive oil’s job is to help get everything spinning in the food processor. Because it also adds flavour, this is a good place to use your very best oil.

Freestyle Variation

Toss in a few garlic cloves for pungent strength. Try experimenting with different herb, cheese and nut combinations such as mint, goat cheese and pistachio, or sage, goat cheese and walnut.

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