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Marcella Hazan’s Pesto

From the recipe box Verdura recipes by


From Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking by Marcella Hazan


2 cups tightly packed fresh basil leaves
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. pine nuts
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine before putting in the processor
~ Salt
cup freshly grated parrmigiano-reggiano cheese
2 Tbsp. freshly grated romano cheese
3 Tbsp. butter, softened to room temperature
lb. pasta


  1. Briefly soak and wash the basil in cold water, and gently pat it thoroughly dry with paper towels.
  2. Put the basil, olive oil, pine nuts, chopped garlic, and an ample pinch of salt in the processor bowl, and process to a uniform, creamy consistency.
  3. Transfer to a bowl, and mix in the two grated cheeses by hand. It is worth the slight effort to do it by hand to obtain the notably superior texture it produces. When the cheese has been evenly amalgamated with the other ingredients, mix in the softened butter, distributing it uniformly into the sauce.
  4. When spooning the pesto over pasta, dilute it slightly with a tablespoon or two of the hot water in which the pasta was cooked.
  5. Freezing pesto: Make the sauce through to the end of Step 2, and freeze it without cheese and butter in it. Add the cheese and butter when it is thawed, just before serving.

This content is from the Verdura recipes collection.

There are 2 comments on this item
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100% recommend this recipe
1. by Cyntia B on Aug 12, 2010 at 1:56 PM PDT

I have used Marcella Hazen’s pesto recipe since a frient first passed it on in 1985. I freeze it with the butter and cheeses and still achieve superior results. Use it as a stuffing for raw button mushrooms, which I pop under the broiler until the pesto bubbles. Serve with crustry bread. Yum!

2. by anonymous on May 5, 2013 at 12:15 PM PDT

I love this recipe. The addition of butter is apparently old fashioned, as most modern recipes don’t include it. I also use this for soupe au pistou. Essentially boiled veg with a big dollop of pesto in each bowl to flavour the broth. I also freeze this with the butter and cheese and have no qualms about the result.

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