Italian basil pesto is as timeless and versatile as a little black dress or shawl collar tuxedo. It’s good with almost anything, but great when paired well. Stir a spoonful into softened butter and allow it to melt over a piece of perfectly cooked halibut. Or fold some into pasta with flaky tender pieces of salmon. Sauté some shell-on spot shrimp and finish it with a dollop of butter and pesto—the possibilities are many.
- 2 cups (lightly packed) fresh basil leaves
- ¼ cup (loosely packed) fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley leaves
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- ¼ cup toasted pinenuts or chopped roasted almonds
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
MAKE THE SAUCE
In a food processor, combine the basil, parsley, garlic, and pine nuts and pulse until finely chopped. While the machine is running, add the oil in a steady stream and process until fairly smooth. Add the cheese and butter and pulse to combine. Transfer to a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Use right away or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
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Know Your Cook
Culinary Director Grace Parisi is a cook, writer and cookbook author. Formerly the Senior Test Kitchen Editor at Food & Wine Magazine and Executive Food Director at TimeInc Books, her work has appeared in Cooking Light, Health, O Magazine, Epicurious, Fitness, Today, Serious Eats, Martha Stewart, and many more. She’s the author of more than 6 books, among them The Portlandia Cookbook and Get Saucy, which was nominated for a James Beard award for Best Single Subject Cookbook.
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