Pesto Abruzzese

Pesto Abruzzese

  • Author: Flavia Scalzitti


Adapted from Preserving Italy: Canning, Curing, Infusing, and Bottling Italian Flavors and Traditions by Domenica Marchetti

A food processor makes quick work of making this savory vegetable paste that is perfect to use as the flavor base for soups, stews, and sauces. I like to give the carrots a head start in the food processor because carrots are the firmest of all the vegetables–if you added the vegetables all at once, the more tender ones would be puréed by the time the carrot is chopped adequately and the sauce would be unevenly textured. Pesto abruzzese will keep for two weeks refrigerated in a tightly sealed container. 


  • 4 medium carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • Handful of celery leaves (optional but highly recommended)
  • 1 small yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled + tough ends trimmed off (optional)
  • Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
  • ½ cup (125 mL) extra-virgin olive oil + more to cover pesto


  1. Wash and dry all the vegetables thoroughly. Peel the carrots, celery, and onion and cut them into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces. Place the carrot pieces only in the work bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and pulse several times until the carrots are coarsely chopped. Next, add in the celery, celery leaves (if using), onion, garlic cloves (if using), parsley leaves, and salt. Pulse until all the vegetables are uniformly minced, scraping down the sides of the work bowls as necessary. With the food processor running, pour in as much of the olive oil as necessary to form a thick paste (it should not be runny).
  2. Transfer the pesto into a clean (or sterilized) wide-mouth glass jar and press down with a spatula or spoon to remove any air bubbles. Top off with enough olive oil just to cover the pesto. Wipe the jar rim with a clean, damp paper towel and close the jar securely. Refrigerate immediately.
  3. Spoon the pesto abruzzese out as needed to use as the flavor base for soups, stews, and sauces. Use the pesto abruzzese only for recipes that require the pesto to be cooked. Simply sauté the pesto in olive oil over medium-low heat until fragrant and slightly softened before proceeding with the recipe you are making.
  4. Storage: Refrigerate in a tightly sealed jar and use within 2 weeks.