The HerbFarm Pesto


No, I didn’t eat at the famous Herbfarm.   I hear tell that dinners for two at The Herbfarm add up to nearly $500.  I don’t think I’ll be going there anytime soon.   Imagine the meals you can cook up for $500.

I have however, read quite a bit about cooking with herbs and I’m fascinated.  As you can imagine, when I found their cookbook at Half Price Books in Seattle, I was ecstatic!

The first recipe I tried was their pesto.  Nothing fancy.  Same pesto I’ve made hundreds of times, but I like to add toasted pine nuts–and usually more than any recipe calls for.  In any case, I made it and I froze it to use in other dishes.

Pesto is a quick meal when served with pasta (don’t forget to add a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water first), salad, bread, and wine.   Easy and fast!

I use pesto in my Pesto Vinaigrette, soups, and in my pasta sauces.    I like to add an ice cube size to my marinara for a little extra zip!  It’s also good on a three cheese pizza.  The book has a recipe for a pesto bread.  I’ll bake that this week and share photos later.

The book is filled with recipes to use up all those herbs in our herb gardens, so if you’re not ready to spend half a grand on dinner for two, I suggest you buy this cookbook.   The recipes look amazing.

The Herbfarm cookbook makes the pesto the way it should be made–with a mortar and pestle.  Pesto means “pestle”.  I cheated and after making a paste of the nuts, salt, and garlic, I threw it in the food processor to add basil and olive oil.



PESTO (Adapted from Herbfarm Cookbook)

2 cloves garlic

3 Tbsp raw pine nuts

1/4 tsp Kosher salt

3 ounces, or 3 cups gently packed sweet basil leaves

1/2 cup x-tra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan reggiano

-Process pinenuts, garlic, and salt til finely ground. (15 seconds)

Add basil and process until no leaves are left and add oil through spout slowly until a fine paste.

Scrapes sides and then add cheese and pulse until incorporated.

NOTE:  I wrote out the food processor method above.  You can use the mortar and pestle method as well.

Angelnina’s Preferred Pesto: Although Herbfarm’s pesto is perfectly fine, I prefer Giuliano Hazan’s Pesto (Recipe Below).  I love the addition of the Pecorino Romano Cheese!  PS -I prefer to toast my pine nuts first.

Genoese Basil Pesto
by Giuliano Hazan
Makes enough for 1 pound dried pasta or 1 recipe homemade pasta
1 1/3 cups fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
3 tablespoons freshly grated Pecorino Romano
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon butter


1.  Wash the basil leaves and spin dry.  Place the basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt, and olive oil in a food processor.  Run the processor until the mixture is smooth and creamy.  Transfer the contents to a mixing bowl and mix in the grated cheeses with a spoon or rubber spatula.

2.  While the pasta you will serve with the pesto is cooking, add two tablespoons of the pasta water and the butter to the pesto and mix well.  When the pasta is done, toss it with the pesto and serve at once.

Note: Pesto can be made ahead of time and frozen for up to 2 months.  After adding the cheeses, place the pesto in a freezer-safe container and coat the surface with olive oil before sealing and placing in the freezer.  Defrost before adding the pasta water and butter.


5 thoughts on “The HerbFarm Pesto

  1. Pingback: The HerbFarm Pesto ·

  2. Your pesto recipe looks amazing. I was trying to decide what to make for dinner tonight and think I will do this pasta recipe. Yum!

    I bought my mom a pestle and mortar for Christmas last year but don’t have one myself. I better get one – and that cookbook sounds great too.

  3. KIM: I found mine at a thrift shop or estate sale (I can’t remember which) and I LOVE it. I use it to grind spices too.

    MAVEN: I think they’re great to have on hand. Mark wanted it for his chiles –Mexican cooking.
    Hazan makes great food. He also has a cooking school in Italy. We should go to his school sometime–you know, like if one of us wins the lottery or inherits something from a long lost relative 😉

  4. I’ve been on a pesto kick myself lately, but have been doing a pistou – just basel, a touch of garlic, salt and olive oil, then adding cheese and a small sprinkling of pinenuts to the pasta. Yummy. Especially good on whole wheat pasta. I throw a handful of frozen peas into the cooking water for the last minute. Yummy.

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