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Start by organizing the ingredients.
Add the oil, a few drops at a time, to the mashed ingredients.


Makes about 1/4 cup

This recipe can be doubled very easily. At Spago we use a sweet olive oil, not too sharp and overwhelming, from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This can be brushed over pizzas and fish, and it turns a simple pasta into something special. In Italy, pesto is generally made with mortar and pestle, which probably accounts for the name, but it can also be done in a blender, so you will find both methods below.

  • 12 medium fresh basil leaves, washed, dried, and coarsely chopped
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly toasted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin oil

A. In a mortar and pestle, pound the basil, garlic, nuts, and salt until thoroughly mashed.

B. Pesto can also be made in a blender. Blend the garlic, nuts, and basil leaves, then slowly add the oil. Blend on low to a smooth paste. Season with the kosher salt.
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