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Lettuce Leaf Basil Pesto: The fastest, most authentic recipe

For me, nothing in a garden beats the smell of basil. It gives me vivid flashbacks to my nonna making sauce, to my mother making sauce, and now, to me making sauce. Being Calabrese, pesto isn't part of our usual cuisine rolodex. We let the Northerners keep their green paste. However, I'd be lying if I didn't say I enjoy a good pesto from time to time (just don't tell my parents).

We grow both sweet basil and lettuce leaf basil in our yard. For this particular recipe, I used the lettuce leaf variety. It has a milder taste than sweet basil, but a stronger scent. (Pictured below, lettuce leaf basil.)

I've put together a how-to-guide below that will have you tasting the sweet, salty, garlicky, taste of summer, in less than 20 minutes.

Makes: 1 small jar of Pesto (Enough for roughly 4-6 servings)

Prep: 15 minutes

Cooktime: None!


2 cups of fresh basil

Roughly 1/3 cup of top shelf EVOO, none of that Shop-Rite sh*t

1/3 cup of pine nuts

3 garlic cloves, minced

(optional) 1/3 cup of fresh Parmigiano

Kosher salt and cracked fresh black pepper to taste


Food processor or mezza luna

1 small jar for storage

Directions (with near step-by-step photo instruction)

1. Wash your basil and pat dry with paper towels, or air dry.

2. Place basil and pine nuts into food processor and pulse a few times to get the party started. Then add the garlic, and if you want the 1/3 cup of Parmigiano. (I did this version dairy free.)

3. Pulse a few more times, using a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Now begin to slowly add your olive oil and continue to pulse.

4. Add some salt and pepper and again give it a few more pulses. Taste to see if you like the seasoning. If you do, you're done!

5. Put your pesto in an airtight glass jar and store in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to 3 months!

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