Mama Va's Basil Pesto

Posted by Kelle Barnard on

I posted this pic on my story a while ago & several of you requested the recipe. Sad truth is, as in full Mama Va style (who taught me this recipe), I don’t have one, I just make it... by "feel"! That being said, I thought I'd give you the basic outline of how we go about it here!

Mama Va's Basil Pesto

Makes roughly 2-16oz jars


  • at least 6 cups of rinsed, dried and stemmed fresh basil leaves (I use my salad spinner to make sure the leaves are dry but you can lay them on paper towels or a tea towel and blot dry)
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts (any nut will do! I've used almonds, walnuts, & pecans and ALL are marvelous)
  • 2 cloves garlic (more or less to your liking)
  • Parmesan cheese, cubed or roughly grated (approximately 3/4 cup; I've also used all different kinds of cheeses, whatever I've had on hand like Romano, Asiago or Manchego,  but Parmesan is traditional)
  • salt to taste (not too much as the Parmesan is naturally salty)
  • olive oil until it reaches the consistency you prefer

Combine basil, nuts, garlic cloves and cheese in a food processor and pulse to combine. When all ingredients are chopped down add a pinch of salt and begin drizzling your olive oil in as you pulse the processor. Add it until you get a paste consistency you like. At this point you can taste and adjust. If you need more salt or cheese or nuts you can add more now.

  • It can be kept in your fridge for up to 2 weeks or in your freezer for up to a year!
  • It can be used for pastas, pizzas, casseroles, salads, soups, sandwiches, marinades & more! Need a hit of flavor? Add pesto!
  • Mama Va PRO TIP: After each use (rather kept in the fridge or freezer) drizzle a layer of olive oil over the top to keep it from browning!

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