Pesto alla Genovese - pesto sauce

“Pesto alla Genovese” recipe

    • Prep Time
    • Minutes
    • Cook Time
    • Minutes
    • Yield
    • 500gr
    • Difficulty Level

Pesto alla Genovese - pesto sauce

Total Cost: UK/£ 11,25*

Cost/portion: UK/£ 1,13*

Pesto: the traditional recipe for the modern times

This is the recipe for the traditional basil sauce from Genoa: basil, pine nuts, garlic, parmigiano cheese, salt and a mild extra virgin olive oil.

Obviously, since as son as you move out from Genoa you can’t expect to make a proper Genoese pesto – the ingredients are not the same anywhere else – this is my own version of the recipe. I have lived in Genoa for 12 years… I think to have the right of giving my own contribution!

The official pesto website, the “Genoese Pesto Consortium”,  which gives the original recipe, wants the cheese to be a mixture of parmigiano cheese and pecorino romano cheese.The ratio should be: 7 parts of parmigiano cheese and 3 parts of pecorino romano. Although, unless you can have access to a proper pecorino, which shouldn’t be as aggressively salted as the one I sometimes find in supermarkets, I suggest to use only parmigiano cheese.

How to make a proper pesto with the hand blander

Do not wash the basil  – brush it! –  and chill all the other ingredients in the fridge. This will help saving not only the vivid green colour of basil, but also the taste: the hand blender tends to heat up the mixture turning it slightly bitter. Also, blend the pesto as quickly as possible and leave it slightly coarse: it’s not a mayo!

Related posts

“Trofie with Pesto sauce – Trofie al pesto

Note for the users: please click on the label “HOW TO” to watch the slide-show of each cooking step.

* Please note that both total cost and cost per portion are approximate and that can vary according to seasons and to different conditions.

Recipe Rating

  • (1 Rating)

Ingredients

  • Parmigiano cheese* - 100gr

  • Suited Garlic* - 2 cloves (or to taste)

  • Basil leaves - 100gr (from two large basil plants at the supermarket)

  • Pine Nuts* - 110gr

  • Mild Extra Virgin Olive Oil* - 180gr

  • Salt - 2gr or to taste

  • *all these ingredients should rest in the fridge to chill before use to help maintains the basil's nice and bright colour
  • Utensils

  • One paring knife

  • One chef knife

  • One chopping board

  • One hand blender

  • One large deep bowl

  • One zester

  • One wooden or silicone spatula

Instructions

  • 1.
    Grating the cheese and chopping the garlic

    • Parmigiano cheese - 100gr
    • Suited Garlic - 2 cloves (or to taste)
    • One paring knife
    • One chef knife
    • One chopping board

      Finely grate the cheese ( better if it's coming straight from the fridge) and put it back in the fridge, so it will remain cool.
      Peel the garlic cloves and finely chop it into a quite fine brunoise: slice it longwise into 3 or 4 pieces with the paring knife, put it flat on the chopping board, hold it together with your fingers and repeat the cuts agin on the other direction, then chop it into tiny cubes (2 or 3mm). Set aside (step 1 - pic.).

  • 2.
    Collecting only the fresh and flawless basil leaves

    • Basil leaves - 100gr (from two large basil plants at the supermarket
    • One large deep bowl

      Tear off the basil leaves from the plant. Check if there is any dirt on them and collect only the flawless leaves into the large bowl in which you will blend the pesto. Do not use any other part, of the plant: branches do not taste good. If present, discard any flower, bloom or seeds (step 2 - pic.).

  • 3.
    Processing the ingredients with the hand blender

    • The grated Parmigiano cheese
    • The chopped garlic
    • The basil leaves
    • Mild Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 180gr
    • One hand blender
    • One large deep bowl

      Add all the ingredients to the basil leaves, then immediately process them with the hand blander. Do not overdo it or the mixture will heat up, blackening and shifting the taste to a slightly bitter note.
      The mixture must be even but not smooth: leave it slightly coarse (step 3 - pic.).

  • 4.
    Correcting the seasoning with salt

    • The pesto in the bowl
    • Salt - 2gr or to taste
    • One wooden or silicone spatula

      Season the pesto with 2gr of salt, or more if needed, and stir evenly with a spatula (step 4 - pic.).
      Use it immediately or put it into a jar, covering the top with extra virgin olive oil - prevent the basil's oxidation - and store it in the fridge. This way, you can save the pesto for 3-4 days if you keep adding oil in top after every use.

Instructions

  • 1.
    Grating the cheese and chopping the garlic

    • Parmigiano cheese - 100gr
    • Suited Garlic - 2 cloves (or to taste)
    • One paring knife
    • One chef knife
    • One chopping board

      Finely grate the cheese ( better if it's coming straight from the fridge) and put it back in the fridge, so it will remain cool.
      Peel the garlic cloves and finely chop it into a quite fine brunoise: slice it longwise into 3 or 4 pieces with the paring knife, put it flat on the chopping board, hold it together with your fingers and repeat the cuts agin on the other direction, then chop it into tiny cubes (2 or 3mm). Set aside (step 1 - pic.).

  • 2.
    Collecting only the fresh and flawless basil leaves

    • Basil leaves - 100gr (from two large basil plants at the supermarket
    • One large deep bowl

      Tear off the basil leaves from the plant. Check if there is any dirt on them and collect only the flawless leaves into the large bowl in which you will blend the pesto. Do not use any other part, of the plant: branches do not taste good. If present, discard any flower, bloom or seeds (step 2 - pic.).

  • 3.
    Processing the ingredients with the hand blender

    • The grated Parmigiano cheese
    • The chopped garlic
    • The basil leaves
    • Mild Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 180gr
    • One hand blender
    • One large deep bowl

      Add all the ingredients to the basil leaves, then immediately process them with the hand blander. Do not overdo it or the mixture will heat up, blackening and shifting the taste to a slightly bitter note.
      The mixture must be even but not smooth: leave it slightly coarse (step 3 - pic.).

  • 4.
    Correcting the seasoning with salt

    • The pesto in the bowl
    • Salt - 2gr or to taste
    • One wooden or silicone spatula

      Season the pesto with 2gr of salt, or more if needed, and stir evenly with a spatula (step 4 - pic.).
      Use it immediately or put it into a jar, covering the top with extra virgin olive oil - prevent the basil's oxidation - and store it in the fridge. This way, you can save the pesto for 3-4 days if you keep adding oil in top after every use.

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