Home made pesto

Home made pesto - Papa Oki

This is a ridiculously easy pesto receipe that knocks the spots off anything you can buy in a supermarket.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Difficulty: easy

Serves: 250ml 


Most of the pesto you find in the shops is quite samey. First off, most of what you see is made by machines. This holds true even if it’s homemade. Don't get me wrong, it usually tastes good, but because the ingredients aren't hand chopped you end up with a texture that is more like a moist, uniform paste with little to no definition between ingredients. Using the mezzaluna to make your own pesto is something different.

Chopping all the ingredients by hand is key because this prevents the ingredients from becoming a completely homogenized emulsion or paste. When you dress a pasta with a pesto that has been hand chopped the minuscule flecks of basil will separate from the olive oil, pine nuts, and Parmesan cheese in places. You get definition between ingredients, and bright flavours pop in a way they don't when they've been blended into one.

This is where the mezzaluna comes in.

You'll notice this recipe doesn't have any added salt (just the saltiness from the cheese) so make sure your pasta water is well salted if you are going to use this pesto on pasta. If you skip it, the overall flavour profile will fall a bit flat. Also, be sure to adjust for seasoning before serving. With food this simple, you need to get the seasoning right. Trust your tastebuds.


  1. 50g pine nuts
  2. 80g fresh basil
  3. 50g of quality parmesan in a block
  4. 150ml olive oil
  5. 1 garlic clove
  6. Ground black pepper to taste


  1. Lightly toast the pine nuts
  2. Chop the garlic with about 1/3 of the basil leaves. 
  3. Once this is loosely chopped add more basil, chop some more, add the rest of the basil, chop some more. I scrape and chop, gather and chop. At this point the basil and garlic should be a very fine mince. 
  4. Add about half the toasted pine nuts, chop. Add the rest of the pine nuts, chop. 
  5. Add half of the Parmesan, chop. Add the rest of the Parmesan, and chop. 
  6. In the end, you want a chop so fine that you can press all the ingredients into a basil "cake". Transfer the pesto "cake" to a small bowl
  7. Cover the pesto "cake" with a bit of olive oil. It doesn't take much, just a few tablespoons. 

At this point, you can set the pesto aside, or place it in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Just before serving, give the pesto a quick stir to incorporate some of the oil into the basil.



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