• 4 cups basil leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. Rinse basil leaves; pat dry and set aside.
  2. Combine basil, garlic, and parmesan in large bowl of a food processor. Pulse several times, until garlic is finely chopped.
  3. With food processor running, add olive oil in a thin stream. If not working with a food processor, simply add oil in small batches (usually 2-3 tablespoons at a time, so as not to overdo it and make it too oily).
  4. Continue running until pistou is a smooth and even consistency.


  • Consistency can be manipulated to change what you want to do with it. A thinner pistou (one with more olive oil) is good for drizzling over soups or tossing with pasta. A thicker pistou (less oil, more cheese) is great for using as a pizza topping or sandwich spread
  • Replace basil with spinach for a more nutrient-rich sauce
  • Substitute some oil for water for a lighter version
  • By adding nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, etc) the sauce goes from pistou to pesto