Below are two pesto recipes. The first recipe is my own spinach pesto. This is a very thick pesto. So: not at all (!!) like pesto that you buy in the supermarket. I use this in my Spinach-pesto goat-cheese salmon feuilleté recipe - that can not be made with creamy pesto. I have added a second recipe, for the quick-and-easy regular pesto that I use in Dino's antipasti platter recipe.

  • Preparation time - pesto: 10 minutes (excluding thawing out the frozen spinach!)
  • Makes 15 servings.


  • Ingredients for my spinach pesto:
  • 750 grams (1.5 lbs) frozen whole-leaf spinach (do not use finely chopped or creamed frozen spinach)
  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 - 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (never use the bone-dry pre-ground stuff!)
  • 5 heaping tablespoons pine nuts (best if lightly toasted just before making the pesto)
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • Ingredients for regular pesto:
  • 50 grams pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 35 grams (1.5 oz) freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 50 ml olive oil (3.5 tablespoons)
  • 1 bunch (≈25 grams ; 10 oz) of fresh basil, ends of the stalks removed
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder (cayenne pepper)


  • For the spinach pesto:
  • cheese cloth, or lots of paper kitchen towels
  • fine-mesh sieve
  • food processor
  • medium size bowl

  • For the regular pesto:
  • food processor
  • medium size bowl


  • Instructions for the spinach pesto:
  • Thaw out the frozen spinach and drain very well. This takes lots of squeezing in cheese cloth or paper kitchen towels!
  • After draining the water, the weight of the spinach should be reduced by at least 50%!
  • First, I let the spinach drain by itself in a fine-mesh sieve, then I press the spinach mass with my fist, then I transfer the spinach mass onto paper towels and put this into the sieve and press - repeat until almost no more water comes out.
  • Important: in the end, the spinach much be a big pasty lump - no liquid should drain out if you let it sit on a plate for a while. We are not making a pesto with the creamy consistency of store-bought pesto!
  • Put the spinach, garlic, basil, and the salt in a food processor
  • Pulse several times to begin chopping & blending the ingredients, then turn to high speed and slowly pour in the olive oil until the mixture is just beginning to get smooth.
  • Add the pine nuts and blend some more.
  • Transfer to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese.

  • Instructions for the regular pesto:
  • Put all ingredients in a food processor / kitchen machine, and whiz until a puree consistency is obtained (you may have to stop several times and scrape the ingredients off the inside of the machine with a spatula). Done!


  • Pesto can be made well ahead and kept in the fridge; if so, make sure that it is back up at room temperature when you are going to use it.

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