Thoughtless Thursday: Homemade Pesto

No, this isn’t a crock pot recipe, but it comes together in 5 minutes (plus however long your pasta takes to cook) so it absolutely qualifies for a thoughtless dinner.  I’m talking about pesto.  There are a zillion ways to make pesto.  Traditionally they include herbs or greens of some kind, plus a nut of some kind, plus olive oil.  This one is pretty close to traditional pesto, as it uses fresh basil.  The super traditional stuff is made with pine nuts, but I just can’t bring myself to pay nearly EIGHT BUCKS for 8 oz. of them when I can buy a whole pound of shelled walnuts for $5, which can then go in the freezer for future dishes.  Right, so the only special equipment you’ll need for this is a food processor (or maybe a blender, though I’ve never made it that way).  This recipe makes about a cup of fresh pesto.  I promise there really is pesto under that cheese.  And pasta.  Mmm. Which makes it a good entry for this week’s Presto Pasta Nights, hosted by Mansi of Fun & Food Cafe.


  • 2 cups packed basil leaves (be sure to wash and spin or pat dry)
  • 1/3 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Toss your walnuts into the food processor and pulse a few times to bust them up if they aren’t already chopped.
  2. Add the basil and pulse several times.
  3. Add the garlic and go ahead and switch it to on.
  4. Add the olive oil in a slow stream down the little spout in the top while the food processor is running.
  5. Stop and add the cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  6. Keep pulsing until you achieve the desired smooth consistency.
  7. Prep your pasta per package instructions.  This is enough for one package of pasta.
  8. Drain the pasta and toss with the pesto, turning often to make certain all is well coated.
  9. Top with additional parmesan or romano.

Cook’s note: This also makes a great marinade for chicken or pork.

Printable version.

2 thoughts on “Thoughtless Thursday: Homemade Pesto

  1. Probably the very reason I started Presto Pasta Nights three years ago…all those mindless dinner days ;-D

    Thanks for sharing this one with Presto Pasta Nights.

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