Drink.  Learn.  Laugh.  Repeat.

Welcome Back!Sign in here:

Not Registered?Become one of our thirsty clan 326,176 strong:

Register Today!

Basic Basil Pesto

Basic Basil Pesto

After a trip to Italy I was inspired to come home and make my own homemade pesto. Making pesto is super easy, but takes at least a week or two of “sitting” to be ready to serve on pasta. The best pesto recipes are simple, with only the basics.

Basic Basil Pesto:

Level of difficulty: Easy
Time to prepare: 5 minutes

2 loosely packed cups fresh basil, big stems discarded, rinsed, and drained (The fresher the better)
Salt to taste
1/2 to 2 garlic cloves (I LOVE garlic so I use two)
2 Tbs pine nuts (best toasted but not required)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, to start
Freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese

Combine basil, salt, garlic, nuts, and about half of the olive oil in a food processor or blender. (For real authentic pesto, and a ton more time, use a mortar and pestle instead of a food processor.) Process and stop to scrape once in awhile. Gradually add the remainder of the olive oil. You can even put more than 1/2 cup of olive oil depending on how thick you like your pesto. Store in the refrigerator for one to two weeks. Stir in freshly grated Romano or Parmesan right before serving. (Serves about 4-6)

Chicken Pesto Pasta:

1/2 pound to a full pound of fettuccine
1 cups of cooked, diced chicken
1/4-1/2 cup Basic Basil Pesto (the amount you add to your pasta is up to your taste)

Boil the fettuccine in a pot with a touch of salt. Dice up chicken and cook it in a skillet with 2 cloves of garlic. I add the garlic once the chicken is almost fully cooked. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add chicken and a very generous scoop or two of pesto. The amount of pesto you add is completely up to you!

The pasta is ready to serve. Top each serving with some freshly grated Parmesan or Romano cheese and a few pine nuts. (Serves 2-4)

A Simple Pesto Snack:

Basic Basil Pesto (see recipe)
Pizza cheese, Italian blend is best
Fresh Romano or Parmesan cheese

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Spread some pesto on a tortilla, just as you would pizza sauce. Sprinkle pizza cheese on top of the pesto and add a little fresh Romano cheese. The Romano gives it such a great flavor! Bake until the cheese is melted and the edges of the tortillas are barely crisp. Be sure to keep a pretty close eye on these as they can burn pretty easily.

Come by and see my website, Threads. I would love to hear if you try the pesto recipe and how it goes.

Complementary Wines: Chardonnay, Chianti, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir

If you'd like more delicious recipes and wine pairings, join my website.

Visit 's wine and food blog Threads.

Return to Recipes



Join me in a free online video class to learn the secrets to perfect pairings.

Wine of the Week

As featured on  

CTV Wine of the Week!

Leitz White Wine
Rüdesheim, Rheinhessen ...

Natalie MacLean

Natalie MacLean offers North America's most popular online wine and food pairing classes. She was named the World's Best Drinks Writer at the World Food Media Awards in Australia.

Natalie has published two books with Random House, both selected as one of Amazon's Best Books of the Year.

Join 326,176 thirsty wine lovers who get access to all of her wine reviews by becoming a member of her site. Take a free online pairing class with her here.



Know the wines you want before you even get to the store with my wine reviews. Join now. It's free.

Red, White & Drunk All Over

  Best Books of the Year

Red, White & Drunk all over by Natalie MacLean

Natalie MacLean writes about wine with a sensuous obsession... and often laugh-out-loud funny... Terrific.

Rex Pickett, Sideways

Ms. MacLean is the disarming Everywoman. She loves wine, loves drinking ... ultimately, it's a winning formula.

Eric Asimov, The New York Times


Access my reviews on mobile with the bar code scanner.


Unquenchable: A Tipsy Search

  Best Books of the Year

Unquenchable by Natalie MacLean

Natalie MacLean is a new force in the wine writing world ‐ a feisty North American answer to Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson. She can write beautifully about wine.

The Financial Times of London

There are very few people in the wine world who "get it" and Natalie is one of those who brings more fun to a buttoned-up and stodgy game.

Gary Vaynerchuck, Wine Library TV

Starting a Wine Cellar?

Expert advice for all budgets

Insider tips on starting a wine cellar
From wine racks to underground caves, insider tips on size and space, number of bottles, ideal conditions and reputable resources.   learn more  




Winner World's Best Drink Writer
WFour-Time Winner James Beard Foundation
Five-Time Winner Association of Food Journalists
Six-Time Winner Bert Greene Award
Best Wine Literature Book Gourmand World Cookbook Awards
Online Writer of the Year Louis Roederer International Wine Writing Award