Recipes, Savory

Pesto alla Positano

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I really, really love basil. I think I always sort of knew this, but it really came to light as I was creating my catering menu and realized that I add it to just about everything. Can you really blame me? Look at it – so green, gorgeous, and nothing beats that fresh basil smell. Needless to say, I’ve always got some on hand in my kitchen.


This April, yesterday to be exact, marked two years since Kevin and I got engaged (so crazy!!), which got me thinking about our honeymoon. We went to a few different places in Italy & Greece, but our very first stop as husband and wife was Positano – a stunningly beautiful, cliff-side village on southern Italy’s Amalfi Coast. We decided to spend one afternoon taking a cooking class at Hotel Buca di Bacco.

Buca di Bacco Cook Book

We scratch made an obscene amount of deliciousness in two hours (pizza, marinara sauce, and gnocchi, to name a few), but the real showstopper for me was the Pesto. So simple, yet SO delicious. I remember our chef/instructor, Giuseppe, breaking off pieces of crusty Italian bread so we could dip directly into the food processor (YUM) and in that moment it was clear: pesto would never be the same.

As simple as it is, this recipe has 3 key differences from the pesto I’ve always made:

  1. Raw nuts WHAT?! Oh the number of nuts I’ve wasted trying to toast them to perfection and here I am, in ITALY for goodness’ sake, eating this perfect pesto with raw nuts.
  2. Basil to Garlic Ratio – 1 clove only. I’ve always added 2 or 3 – totally unnecessary and masks the flavor of the basil and to be clear, there should be tons of basil.
  3. Everyone into the pool  No slow olive oil pour through the food processor feed tube – all ingredients go in at the same time – easy peasy.

Every time I make this I am immediately transported back to Positano and that’s reason enough to make this all. the. time. – even if it’s only for 5 short minutes. For my fellow Italy lovers, I hope this gives you all the feels. Either way, you’ll be putting heaps of this stuff on EVERYTHING.

Pesto ingredientsWalnuts in food processorpesto in jar

Pesto alla Positano

Adapted slightly from Restaurante Buca di Bacco, Positano | Makes about 2 cups


  • 1 ½ cups basil leaves
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1/3 cup raw pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3/4 cup finely grated Pecorino cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt to taste


Gently wash basil, remove stems, and pat dry with a towel. In a food processor, combine all ingredients and blend until smooth.

To store, add pesto to a jar or container, drizzle olive oil over the top to preserve that beautiful green color, cover and place in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 5 months. I love to freeze in ice cube trays, that way I can defrost the perfect amount whenever I need it.

Ciao for now!

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