Laura's Basil-Cashew Pesto 2.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

May 1, 2013

The cashews give this pesto a rich creaminess. The recipe can be doubled easily.

This is good for pasta, of course, and also as a last-minute stir-in for sauteed vegetables.

Make Ahead: The pesto can be refrigerated for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 8 months.

Servings: 2 cups
  • 6 medium cloves garlic
  • Pinch coarse kosher salt
  • 4 cups basil leaves (about 5 ounces total)
  • 1 cup raw unsalted cashews
  • Sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds (about a tablespoon)
  • 1 generous tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • 1 cup olive oil, plus more as needed


Combine the garlic and salt in a mortar and pestle; mash to form a coarse paste.

Rinse the basil leaves well, transferring them to a food processor without drying them; their extra moisture is needed for the mix. Add the cashews, sesame seeds, lemon juice, cheese and the garlic paste. Puree to achieve the desired consistency.

With the motor running, gradually add the oil to form an emulsified pesto. Taste, and add water (for consistency) or salt as needed. Transfer to a container; if not using right away, place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pesto before sealing and refrigerating for up to 3 days, or divide among ice cube trays and freeze until solid, then transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer-safe zip-top bag and freeze for up to 8 months.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by Laura Genello, a newsletter contributor and editor for FreshFarm Markets.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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