From Massimo Bottura's MasterClass

An Evolution of Pesto

Start learning how to experiment with traditional recipes as Massimo shares his unique take on pesto, using bread crumbs in place of pine nuts. Joining Massimo is Taka Kondo, his sous-chef.

Topics include: Your MasterClass Cookbook


Start learning how to experiment with traditional recipes as Massimo shares his unique take on pesto, using bread crumbs in place of pine nuts. Joining Massimo is Taka Kondo, his sous-chef.

Topics include: Your MasterClass Cookbook

Massimo Bottura

Teaches Modern Italian Cooking

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[MUSIC PLAYING] - We are going to start cooking. My sous chef Taka is going to help me in the kitchen so I can focus on talking to you. We're going to make an amazing evolution of a pesto sauce using all kinds of fresh herbs. Taka, my brother-- little brother-- from Japan. So let's cook some pasta. Let's start with fusilli because I love fusilli. Fusilli because they have a very, very cool shape in which, you know, a velvety sauce as we are going to create goes inside the shape. And when you eat it one by one and enjoy one by one, you have pasta and sauce at the same time. Taka is putting salt into the water because you know that we need a touch of salt. We're going to put the pasta in those 10 minutes. In 10 minutes, we're going to create an amazing fresh pesto sauce. Actually, an evolution of a pesto sauce because we have always to be critic and not nostalgic. So here, you have garlic. Garlic is very aggressive in taste. So what we do-- and we do the same thing for when we make guacamole-- we cut the garlic in the middle and we are like we pressing on the side of the container that we are going to use to make pesto. We're going to leave a little trace of garlic in what we prepare. Then Taka is adding some extra virgin olive oil. That is very, very important. And remember, obsession about quality of the ingredients. I want to tell you a story. I was thinking about create pesto. And pesto is just basil, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, Parmigiano, a pinch of salt, but I didn't have enough basil. And here, we go. The door opened for the unexpected. So we add rosemary. Here. We cannot add rosemary to basil because it's too aggressive. So no rosemary. We add sage, the same thing. But thyme, it's fine. Mint is amazing. We mix mint with basil and a little bit of thyme. So Taka is putting the basil. And he's adding some of the fresh herbs, like this amazing-- smell how fresh everything is. Oh, my god. So good. Smells so good. And make sure you don't put everything in there. This, you can use it to flavor the water, like this. Just make sure you have just the leaves, not to get a bitterness in the back. And this, you're going to put in there. So the pasta is already getting the flavor. A little bit more extra virgin olive oil. We're going to put some Parmigiano in there because I really like Parmigiano in there. And then pine nuts. Pine nuts, pine nuts, pine nuts-- where are pine nuts? Where are pine nuts? We are out of pine nuts. We were out of pine nuts. What are we going to do? Mental palate-- that all the range of flavor, the range of experience, tradition, mixing things. Bread crumbs, bread crumbs-- we use bread crumbs. We put bread crumbs instead of pine nuts. This was an amazing idea. This is like exactly out with old tradition. Tradition in evolution can be any kind of dry bread. You can put in a blender and make it very fine. What do we have here? We have very cold water. And what is water? Water is tr...

Reimagine your cooking

Massimo Bottura, chef of the three-Michelin-star Osteria Francescana, treats his world-renowned restaurant as a laboratory of ideas. In his MasterClass, he shares how he transforms classic, regional Italian recipes into exciting modern dishes. You’ll learn how to make rich, flavorful tagliatelle al ragù, pumpkin risotto, and a MasterClass-exclusive Emilia Burger recipe. Develop your palate and embark on a culinary adventure.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

more things to try in the kitchen just for me and reinforced the idea you can cok great food just for one

his passion is unmatched. loved his way of storytelling. just wish it was more episodes seems like it took a lot longer to get through the first gordon ramsay one

A refreshingly different peek into a favorite cuisine.

Please, please, please do another class with Massimo. He is so brilliant!


Janine D.

The pesto was light and refreshing. Absolutely brilliant to use breadcrumbs. I added roasted veggies. I did not have fusilli on hand. The toasted breadcrumbs on top are a MUST. Perfect touch! Thank you for this new ingenious way of making pesto. I am never going back to the old way.

A fellow student

"Greeting Everyone! Does anyone know the brand and model of the portable induction cooktop they are using? Thanks so much and all best wishes!"

Leslie O.

Dear Massimo, THANK YOU! You taught me to think outside of the box. No pun intended. Lacking enough basil I made the pesto sauce with arugula and some basil and the mint and thyme and of course the breadcrumbs and cheese. I also used roasted garlic powder instead of garlic cloves. It was wonderful. To top it all of f I added cherry tomatoes and black olives. So easy and yet so amazing!

A fellow student

Great lesson, I cook like that using most recipes, the validation to be true to your own taste is unique. Thank you.

Diego S.

Grazie Mille Massimo! Grandissimo! You’re the reason I love cooking brother, huge hug

Stephen D.

So easy to do and so different. Thanks to the mint very refreshing. Perfect for a summer evening. This was a small second starter and went down very well. I roasted the bread with some crushed almonds in brown butter and it gave the dish a lovely crunchy tangy taste. Thank you Chef for this.

Candace B.

Grazie, Massimo. I used basil and mint in my pesto last night--I had them in my garden but didn't have any thyme. But I did love the addition of a bit of mint! I also used whole wheat (homemade) breadcrumbs instead of white because it was what I had on hand and my family was hungry. (Sometimes you just need to put decent food on the table). I will keep experimenting with the pesto.

Michael S.

Loved this. I have family members that have nut allergies. This is great. Now I can serve pesto!


Made this tonight, it's absolutely delicious. While there was a thick coating of the pesto, mine didn't turn a beautiful bright green like his did. Not sure why but it was great tasting all the same! It'll definitely be a meal I'll be making over and over.

Giuliano M.

I agree with the spirit of tradition being in the flux of an evolutionary process. Bottura, in the attempt of overemphasizing like a millennial, didn't articulate concepts with precision (don't worry, he doesn't do it in Italian either) :D and I would like to touch on two points. 1) In the specific context of not having pine nuts and not enough basil (or one that is too balsamic, like the one from southern Italy) it is a variation of the pesto from Liguria in the attempt of reproducing its mechanical and chemical perceptions. Using breadcrumbs instead of pine nuts is a sub-optimal solution, from the aromatic standpoint and also because the fracturability of pine nuts is more pleasant than the one of fried breadcrumbs. It's not just a crunch! Come on Massimo, we come from rodents but we evolved a bit. Makes sense in the Darwinian sense of adaptability tho, makes sense on Mars where is difficult to grow pines. : ) 2) He uses expressions like "this is better than pesto" assuming a comparison with "pesto ligure". Better to say "this is a pesto of herbs" or "this is my pesto today and I do whatever I want". Cool with all of them. Pesto means "to crush" ingredients. It's a very generic word and there are many recipes around Italy, with pistacchi, peppers, sun-dried tomatoes. They're awesome! My bottomline here is that knowledge helps us. Otherwise in my quest of evolving arbitrarily the Italian cuisine from San Francisco, without any knowledge, one day I will add pine nuts to my pesto, find it way better than breadcrumbs and it will be hilarious. : ) Nothing wrong with that, just feels like being in the movie Idiocracy and I'm one of the protagonists.