How to prepare homemade pesto sauce?


Two weeks ago I was hanging around the fresh market looking for basil. But, nothing…no basil at all.

They told me that was too early for basil it was very cold and the basil doesn’t like winter, rain, and cold.



  • 3 cups fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup parmesan (the best is Parmigiano-Reggiano)
  • 1/4 cup cheese Pecorino Sardo
  • 2 tsp garlic powder or 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (or substitute, see in the text)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • pinch of salt


  1. Place the pine nuts in a heated pan and toast them on all sides. You do not need extra olive oil because the pines are naturally oily.
  2. In the same frying pan when you remove pine nuts, add olive oil (1 tsp) add garlic cloves and saute. Set aside after is done.
  3. Wash the lemon well and put it into the water for at least 30 minutes. When you peel the lemon zest use the same one and squeeze them, as you will need 2 teaspoons of lemon juice for pesto sauce.
  4. Then mix all the ingredients from the recipe in a blender and mix them well.
  5. Add olive oil to get the required thickness.
  6. You can combine pesto sauce with pasta or meat as you like.

I asked myself…how come that the basil from the rest of Europe tolerates the winter …only on Balkan everything is intolerant.

Ok, I will be patient this time …

Domaći pesto sos / Homemade pesto sauce

And so, after two weeks of patience, I found the first basil which I assume is winter tolerant 🙂

Fresh, fragrant … extremely green and delicious …

That is the right time for pesto sauce.

Domaći pesto sos / Homemade pesto sauce

Original name of pesto sauce is Pesto Genovese and it originates from Italy, more precisely region around Genoa. Everything else is a good copy.

In the grocery stores, you can buy different kinds of pesto sauce but nothing is like the homemade one. No compation.

Homemade pesto sauce

All the ingredients could be found in every single grocery store.

Tha main ingredient without which pesto wouldn’t be pesto is fresh basil.

Then parmesan and the best one according to the original recipe is Parmigiano-Reggiano and Pecorino Sardo (which is made from sheep milk), the European pine nuts olive oil, garlic, and salt.

Domaći pesto sos / Homemade pesto sauce

One of the options is to put everything in the blender and mix it well, and the other option is to put your love in everything. And everything should be done in this way.

First, roasted pine nuts without any oil. Pine nuts could be easily burned, and you have to watch them very carefully.

All the cheeses I bought in big pieces, and I grated them at home on the day of the recipe preparation…because then the flavors are best. Same case with freshly grounded pepper which is better when is ground on the day of the meal preparation.

Fresh garlic or garlic powder (which you don’t have to roast). In the same frying pan after I removed pine nuts, I added olive oil (1 tsp) and garlic cloves and saute.

Domaći pesto sos / Homemade pesto sauce

Lemon zests. First I wash the lemon and soak it into the water for about half an hour. Then I grated the zest and squeezed the lemon for lemon juice because I will also need it for pesto sauce.

At the end lots of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

When you have prepared all these, put everything in the blender except the olive oil and mix it. According the original way of preparation blender is not suitable, but mortar is. original pesto sauce is prepared in mortar.

Depends on you…mortar or blender…oldfashioned or modern way 🙂

I’m a modern woman 🙂

About olive oil, you have to add enough olive oil to have the right texture of pesto sauce.

When you make homemade pesto sauce for the very first time, for sure you will immediately forget about all the jars from the grocery stores.

Domaći pesto sos / Homemade pesto sauce

Different options

  1. Instead of Pecorino Sardo which is strong in flavor, you can substitute it with some other mild parmesan.
  2. Pine nuts are very expensive, so you can also substitute them with some other nuts like almonds or walnuts. perhaps you can also use dried tomato or pistachio.  With pistachio is very tasty.
  3. Instead of basil when it is not in the season you can use spinach, parsley or coriander.
  4. For the creamy option, you can add some creamy cheese…ricotta or mascarpone…

And the texture is finaly like this one:

Domaći pesto sos / Homemade pesto sauce

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