Serious Eats: Recipes

Sauced: Basil Pesto

When devising a plan for the Sauced column, I really wanted to address the traditional condiments first. Understanding the basics will be beneficial down the road as we build a bigger sauce portfolio. Now three weeks in (here's the ketchup, mustard, and garlic chili oil columns, in case you missed them) all of your suggestions have made it hard to stay the course—I want to try it all now! Alas, I'm coming at you with another classic this week, basil pesto. (Hang tight, SE'rs, I'll get to the rest.)

Pesto is ripe for experimentation but if we're talking traditional, it's going to be basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, and Parmesan combined into a smooth paste. I really wanted to go Grandma-style and make it in a mortar and pestle, but unfortunately don't own one large enough. That led me to the simpler, food processor method.

It's quick work to get all the ingredients chopped and combined into a nutty, herbal paste. This instantly adds so much flavor and beauty to a host of foods including pasta, dips, and meats. Now with that traditional recipe out of the way, what have been your favorite pesto creations? I'm thinking a cilantro for my next version.

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

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