(click to enlarge)

Pesto alla Genovese
  -   Pesto alla Genovese
1-1/4 cup  
20 min  

A classic Italian sauce for pasta and vegetables - wonderfully tasty (unless you buy it in a jar). Fortunately, modern machinery makes it possible to create it in your own home without a massive marble mortar and arms that could twist the turret off an Abrams tank. See serving Note-4. For an alternate, see our delicious Beet Greens Pesto recipe.

Pine Nuts (1)
Parmesan cheese (2)  
Basil Leaves (3)
Olive Oil ExtV.
A mini-prep food processor is perfect for this.
  1. Grate CHEESE on the fine side of a box grater.
  2. Crush GARLIC and chop medium.
  3. Wash BASIL and removed leaves from stems.
  4. Put Cheese and Pine Nuts in the food processor and chop/grind very fine.
  5. Add the Garlic and chop/grind some more. Add the Basil. At this point you'll have to start adding Olive Oil because the Garlic really gums up the works. Chop/grind as fine as you can reasonably get it.
  6. Jar it immediately working out any air bubbles, top with a layer of olive oil to seal it from the air (or it will turn dark in a matter of minutes) and refrigerate. Use within a few days. Of course you can freeze it. I freeze it as a long flat bar so I can just whack off the amount I need and leave the rest frozen.
  1. Pine Nuts:   "Purists" will have Pine Nuts and only Pine Nuts, but in Italy (pine nuts are expensive there too) raw hazelnuts, almonds and even walnuts are also used. I have used raw pistachios successfully when pine nuts were not on hand (similarly resinous). For details see our Pine Page.
  2. Cheese:   Measure is grated fairly fine. Romano and other hard aged cheeses are also used, and sometimes blends of two. Buy a fresh block, never pre-grated. You want the flavor of good cheese, not dry sawdust.
  3. Basil:   Measure is firmly packed, but not really hard packed. Fresh sweet basil is available in vast quantity in Italy, but around here it's in tiny packages at way too high a price - and the fusarium wilt makes it harder to grow your own now. Fortunately, here in Los Angeles, Thai basil is in excellent supply, and 2013 US $2 at the local farmer's market fetches enough for this recipe. Yes the flavor is a little different, but it's still plenty fine. If you use Thai basil, use the purple stemmed variety. The pale green lemon basil often sold as "Thai basil" is too mild, and the flavor is too far from Italian basil. For details see our Mints page.
  4. Serving;   This is one sauce that, when serving with pasta, I serve it Italian style - sauce mixed with pasta in the pot. Don't drown the pasta in sauce, just enough to coat lightly. This sauce is very appropriate (and traditional) with Linguini.
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
yjd_pesto1 050316 r 120701 var   -
©Andrew Grygus - - Linking to and non-commercial use of this page is permitted.