How to keep the pesto vivid green

Preparing the pesto from scratch is very simple, but missing some important steps may darken your sauce rather than it keeping that nice green colour.

Heat and exposure to oxygen turn the basil black because of the process of oxidation. Orthodox makers of pesto use a mortar and pastel and not a blender as it heats the ingredients changing the taste and colour. If you want to use a blender you have to follow some extra steps in order to achieve almost the same result (a vivid green colour):

  • Put all the ingredients (also the blender if you want) in the fridge.
  • Cover the basil leaves with oil before you start blending: this slows down the oxidating process as the basil are not exposed to oxygen.
  • Blende at the slowest speed, pulsing with long pauses in between to avoid heating the ingredients.
  • Add one cube of ice with the cheeses to maintain a low temperature.

80g Basil leaves (weight includes the stalks)
50g Pine nuts
30g Parmesan 
30g Pecorino cheese
1 Garlic clove (more or less depending on your taste) 
5 Tbs of Extra virgin olive oil
Rock Salt 


Preparing the ingredients

Remove the ingredients from the fridge, wash quickly the basil leaves and dry gently with a towel.


Put the garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil in the blender. Then add the oil over the top.Blend by pulsing until you reach a fine consistency, add the cheeses and a cube of ice.Keep pulsing until the sauce becomes creamy.

Use of the sauce

Use the pesto as soon as it's made for pasta, soups, bruschetta or even calamari.


Cover the sauce with a layar of oil and store in the freezer.


Photography: Nadine Andrews