Kitchn Love Letters

The Store-Bought Pesto That’s Way Better than Anything I’ve Ever Made from Scratch

published Aug 2, 2021
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

While you can absolutely make pesto from scratch at home, sometimes you just don’t want to bother with it. Maybe you don’t want to pull out your food processor, or maybe you don’t have handfuls of fresh herbs on hand. Maybe you just want to swipe a quick smear on your sandwich bread and move along with your day. I get it — and that’s why I’m here to sing the praises of the Basil Pesto from Giovanni Rana, which is honestly better than any batch of pesto I’ve ever made from scratch anyway.

I first tried this stuff a few years ago and, since then, it’s the only store-bought pesto for me. It’s the perfect blend of herbs, salt, and cheese. It’s got a great texture. It’s incredibly bright and fresh. And again, it’s better than anything I’ve been able to make at home.

It’s sold in the refrigerated section — usually around the fancy cheeses and cured meats by the deli — and lasts in the fridge for a long time. (Assuming you don’t eat it all right away.) I keep one container in the freezer (as a backup so that I never run out) and an open one in the fridge at all times. And I find that a little goes a long way. I’ve never had to use an entire container on a pasta dinner — just a few spoonfuls will do. Then I have scoops left over for pesto eggs, sandwiches, tomato toasts, veggies, and more. Also, if I’m being honest, I should use this time to let you know that I’ve also eaten this right off a spoon, as if it’s peanut butter. Just once or twice … last week.

Moving on, I also wanted to show you guys how incredibly green this pesto is, even after weeks of sitting in the fridge. This picture doesn’t even do it justice. (This stuff stays green — even after a stint in the freezer.) But it does show you the very visible and noticeable pieces of cheese, garlic, and pine nuts. It also shows you my dedication. This container is nearly empty but I saved it because this tablespoon is not to be wasted!

Also, for all you Costco members out there, I’ve heard (from a very reliable source) that Costco’s Kirkland Signature Basil Pesto is white labeled by Giovanni Rana, which means it’s the same exact stuff — just in a 22-ounce jar for $9.99. A total steal.

Have you found a store-bought pesto that you love? Tell us about it in the comments below!