Is There A Michelin Star Pesto Recipe?

Michelin star restaurant

Short answer
Whilst there is no such thing as a "Michelin-star pesto recipe", that doesn't mean that several Michelin star chefs haven't attempted to add a touch of flair to the traditional recipe.

Long answer
Widely regarded as one of the best chefs in the world, the 3-Michelin star chef Massimo Bottura ruffled a few feathers when he recommended switching the usual pine nuts for breadcrumbs. If he was French or Spanish there may not have been too much of a backlash, but for an Italian chef to "mess" with pesto in this way caused quite the ruckus.

Massimo Bottura's Pesto Recipe

Ingredient Quantity
Basil 200g
Mint 115g
Parmesan 60g
Parsley 55g
Olive oil 40g
Breadcrumbs 30g
Sea salt 5g
Garlic cloves x2

Not immune to a little controversy surrounding his CV and management style, Simon Martin bought Manchester its first Michelin star in decades with his restaurant Mana that was heaped with praise by food critics. His English summer inspired pesto is one of the more daring we've seen thanks to its use of parsley, lemon thyme, elderflower and Doddington cheese. In an interview with I Love MCR, Martin explained his approach to cooking, which is to take something humble and well-known, and reimagine it to celebrate the best of locally grown produce.

Simon Martin's Pesto Recipe

Ingredient Quantity
Hemp oil 90g
Elderflower 20g
Parsley 20g
Lemon thyme 20g
Doddington cheese 20g
Capers 10g
Alexander seeds 5g
Salt 3g
Tomato juice x3

On the Great British Chefs website, Michelin starred Adam Gray shared his recipe for pesto. It's the most traditional on this list for sure, although switching half the basil for parsley is not something you will find traditionalists condone.

Adam Gray's Pesto Recipe

Ingredient Quantity
Rapeseed oil 90g
Basil 1/4 bunch
Parsley 1/4 bunch
Garlic 1/2 clove
Salt pinch
Pepper pinch

The two-star Michelin chef Josiah Citrin makes avocado the star of the show in his pesto recipe. Basil is joined by rocket and spinach, pine nuts are switched for cashews, and a generous squeeze of lemon juice is added for good measure.

Josiah Citrin's Pesto Recipe

Ingredient Quantity
Avocado x2
Parmesan 120g
Basil 50g
Spinach 50g
Rocket 50g
Lemon juice 45g
Olive oil 45g
Cashews 30g
Pumpkin seeds 30g
Pepper 10g
Salt 5g
Garlic cloves x2

Angela Harnett, a Michelin star chef and protégée of Gordon Ramsay is known for her informal and unfussy approach to cooking. She's therefore not the first chef we would naturally think of to collaborate on a jarred pesto. By their very nature, long-life food products require super-precise ingredient measurements and many additional ingredients that you would never dream of putting into a fresh product.

Nevertheless, in 2023 Harnett partnered with Belazu to launch a limited-edition Sicilian-inspired pesto that reflected the island's North African influence. The main ingredient was onion, followed by raisins, rapeseed oil and thirteen other ingredients including capers, sunflower seeds, water and saffron.

Angela Harnett's Sicilian Pesto Recipe

Ingredient
Olive oil
Onion
Raisins
Rapeseed oil
Tomato paste
Sunflower oil
Sunflower seeds
Water
Pine nuts
Garlic
Salt
Basil
Capers
Parsley
Saffron
Lactic acid